30 Best Leaders To Watch 2020

Providing Latest Technology for Growing Human Cells: CO.DON AG, a Biopharmaceutical Company, Continues to Deliver Stunning Results in Treating Cartilage Defects


“CO.DON has built one of the world’s largest and most modern facilities for the production of human cells on an industrial scale for in-house and contract manufacturing.”

Medical advances have significantly improved human living conditions. Pharmaceutical products such as drugs, antibiotics, vaccines, and remarkable improvements in medicine and surgery provide effective treatments and defence against a vast number of diseases. Regenerative medicine is one of the newest and most fascinating fields in medical science; enormous investment is poured in this field with the hope for fruitful results. The field focuses on the replacement and regeneration of tissues or organs. Moving beyond the scope of traditional transplantation, regenerative medicine is the intersection of various technological approaches including gene therapy, stem cell transplantation, and tissue engineering.

CO.DON AG is one such firm — a leading specialist in cell cultivation for the regenerative treatment of articular cartilage defects. In many cases, the use of the company’s patented pharmaceutical product can avert or delay the need for joint replacement surgery. Orthopedics and traumatology surgeons are increasingly applying these regenerative therapy methods. The firm has developed therapeutic approaches and techniques that use the power of autologous cells to restore health and increase the quality of life of your patients.

Tilmann Bur: Interview Highlights

What was the reason behind the genesis of CO.DON AG?

CO.DON AG, founded in 1993, develops, produces, and distributes autologous cell therapies for the minimally invasive repair of cartilage defects. The product being marketed is a cell therapy product for the minimally invasive treatment of cartilage damage in the knee joint that uses only the patient’s own cartilage cells (autologous chondrocytes). CO.DON’s method is currently used in over 200 clinics in Germany and more than 15,000 patients have already been treated. In July 2017, CO.DON received central EU marketing authorization for this product from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). At the Leipzig site, CO.DON has built one of the world’s largest and most modern facilities for the production of human cells on an industrial scale for in-house and contract manufacturing.

A well-defined mission and vision statement is the most important phenomenon for any business. Can you explain your M&V statements in brief?

As experts for human cells, we want to provide a regenerative, personalized treatment for every patient using their own cells, which enables them to enjoy an active life. Our mission and vision statements sum up what we strive for and the commitments we make in our daily work.

Our mission is to offer a personalized cartilage repair so you can continue your active life, and our vision is to empower every patient to be healed with their own cartilage cells — because we are the human cell experts. Our company values define the core elements of ourcorporate culture and thus what is important to us in our daily work as well as when cooperating with our colleagues and customers.

What is your greatest fear, and how do you overcome it?

One of my fear, as well as a basic principle, is trust; all relationships are built on trust. The people with whom I spend time make me who I am. Disappointing these people — whether we are talking about family, friends, customers, shareholders or employees — and betraying their trust would be betraying myself.

For me, the best way to build trust is to be true to your word. Do not deceive, and do not mince matters. There should always be a strong rationale behind your decisions, so explain them with confidence. And if you don’t have the right answer, it’s okay to admit it. Many people always have an answer, but nobody has all the right answers. It’s adorable when a leader can admit that. We all make mistakes, every day, that’s what makes us human and easier to trust — and that’s why we are successful.

What would you say was the most influential factor in your business’ success?

The significant factors that have been aiding our business to stay ahead of the competition include talented/motivated people, great relations, innovative/outstanding products, and an ounce of luck!

What other leaders do you look up to, and why?

In general – entrepreneurs or not, every human who wants to leave a footprint benefiting mankind – also for lifelong learnings. Every new knowledge or cognition is an opportunity that your existence is to benefit more people. For me, that is the joy of living!

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

My advice: Be patient and trust people by verifying carefully!

What do you hope to accomplish in the long run?

We seek to establish a sustainable cutting-edge business in regenerative medicine, to be one of the pioneers and leaders in it, and to share with the world all of the good that CO.DON´s experts and partners are assiduously working on.

What are your future focus areas?

Our future focus is all about innovative therapies in the medical field – considering a regenerative approach. Regenerative medicine has the ability not only to treat disease symptoms but to cure them at the source. Stem cell research or gene therapies will be further important focuses of future developments in this field.

Meet the Valiant Leader Behind the Success of CO.DON AG

Tilmann Bur serves as the Sole Member of the Executive Board of CO.DON since mid of January 2020. Prior to this, he has been a board member of the company since June 2019.

Mr. Bur is an internationally experienced sales and marketing manager. He has an overall experience of 20 years and has worked in professional relationship management with decision-makers in orthopedic and surgical clinics in particular, as well as in setting up and managing national and international sales organizations and distribution networks.

Mr. Bur initially worked as a product specialist for complex products in the field of blood management for orthopedics and cardio surgery in Haemonetics. He held various national and international positions such as Head of Sales and Authorized Representative for Haemonetics Germany, as Marketing Director at Haemonetics Europe and Managing Director at Haemonetics Austria. After working for Biosafe as Director Global Sales and Marketing, as well as a member of the leadership team, Mr. Bur joined R-Biopharm as Director Global Sales for the division of food and feed analysis followed by his positions as Vice President Clinical Diagnostics.

“As experts for human cells, we want to provide a regenerative, personalized treatment for every patient using their own cells, which enables them to enjoy an active life.”