December 7, 2022

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Turkish entrepreneur targets ‘medical collagen’ exports

Gamze Kara Mağden, who transformed the biotechnology company she founded in a space of only 40 square meters (430.56 square feet) in Turkey’s central city of Eskişehir in 2017 into a production facility with an enclosed area of ​​500 square meters, continues her work to present the domestic medical collagen she produced within the scope of the Zero Waste Project to the foreign market.

Mağden developed the project after producing the collagen used in research and development (R&D) activities from cattle tendons, with the company she founded in Eskişehir Technology Development Zone with TUBITAK 1512-Techno-Entrepreneurship Capital Support Program and KOSGEB Entrepreneurship Support Program grants.

Working with a team of six people in Eskişehir Wholesalers Business Center (ESTIM), Mağden completed the medical-grade domestic collagen production project, which she started in 2019, this year. Aiming to supply domestic raw materials for the biotechnology sector in order for the sector to have a sustainable and effective structure in Turkey, Mağden continues mass production to meet the need in the domestic market.

The six-person team of Bugamed, the startup that Gamze Kara Mağden (3rd R) began within the scope of the Zero Waste Project, Eskişehir, central Turkey, Dec. 28, 2021. (AA Photo)

Mağden, the founder of Bugamed Biotechnology, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they have been working in the medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries since 2017 with the aim of creating value-added products based on sustainability and waste recycling.

Mağden said that they started their journey in a 40-square-meter facility at a technopark and continued in their 500-square-meter manufacturing facility in ESTIM.

“We established our pilot-scale facility and completed the necessary accreditations by receiving TL 1 million investment from TRAngels Angel Investment Network and Alesta A.Ş. in 2020. We have reached the point where we do not only serve the R&D market. Medical-grade collagen, which we have put into mass production under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) conditions, is offered for the use of the pharmaceutical, medical device and cosmetics industries. Contrary to the collagen that is frequently mentioned in the market, we process medical-grade collagen without damaging the bond structure and in complete accordance with its structure in the human body from raw materials that have not been considered by industry,” she explained.

Mağden gave more details about her product: “Our product, which is the critical raw material of the medical device industry, is used, for example, in the treatment of a tissue damaged after a surgical operation or as the main raw material for membranes developed in the dental industry, while it is preferred in biotechnological drug development processes and used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. In the cosmetics industry, it is used in product groups that we define as dermo-cosmetic.”

‘Our goal is to get a share of the export pie’

Mağden stated that they primarily meet the needs of domestic companies with domestic medical collagen.

Touching on their goals regarding medical-grade collagen, Mağden said, “Our goal is to get a share of the export pie. We are carrying out product development studies with different companies in Europe and the United States. We will implement our export-oriented growth plans in the near future.”

Mağden stated that “medical-grade collagen” is used in the health and medical sectors abroad.

Providing information about the production of this product in its own facility, Mağden said:

“With the work we do, we realize a cost reduction of up to 40%, enabling our domestic companies to benefit from local collagen. While providing products used for R&D purposes, we also produce for the needs of the pharmaceutical, medical device and cosmetics industries. We make domestic and international sales of collagen. We have announced our name in the domestic market in the production of medical collagen, but we also have export initiatives.”

Mağden said that waste recycling and sustainability are her main goals: “We adopt the zero waste principle while producing our products. We use our existing resources sustainably without harming the environment. We are working to bring them into value-added sectors. In accordance with the domestic and national production strategy applied in our country, by developing high value-added products and services with domestic opportunities – both to prevent imports and maximize the benefit to be obtained by exporting – we continue on our way as a business that aims to achieve and even realize this goal.”

Mağden added that together with the Scientific Advisory Board, which is made up of academics with whom her company cooperates, the company has increased its product range, researched new production technologies, and developed products for new sectors as well as meeting the varying needs of the sectors in which they operate.

Female entrepreneur and biologist Gamze Kara Mağden stands holding the medical-grade collagen that her company manufactures, Eskişehir, central Turkey, Dec. 28, 2021. (AA Photo)
Female entrepreneur and biologist Gamze Kara Mağden stands holding the medical-grade collagen that her company manufactures, Eskişehir, central Turkey, Dec. 28, 2021. (AA Photo)

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