Jiří Žák: RCPTM plays fair, that’s what matters most

Jiří Žák has been Chairman of the Board and General Director at Farmak, a.s. for many years. On Thursday, January 31, he paid a visit to Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials (RCPTM). Being an ex-chairperson of the UP Board of Directors as well as an ex-teacher at the Faculty of Science, Jiří Žák was very interested to see the RCPTM laboratories. After his meeting with Radek Zbořil, RCPTM General Director, and Michal Otyepka, RCPTM Vice-director, he gave us an interview.


What was the primary goal of your visit?

We’ve already been collaborating with RCPTM, and we’re planning to collaborate even more closely in the future. We’ve discussed some options, but we do not want to jump to the conclusion. We produce active pharmaceutical ingredients, so we are able to deliver a kind of semi-products to our clients.  The network of our clients operates throughout the whole world; it makes 40 different countries altogether. We have the company audited by national authorities, e.g. State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL), as well as by supervisory bodies from the USA; Russia; or Brazil, on a regular basis.  We are obligated to meet their requirements with respect to the particle size or impurities. Their demands are not all easy to respond to and satisfy, though. Therefore, we prefer to collaborate with our partners despite having our own research and development facilities in which we invest considerable amount of money. One of the problems we have to face is lack of Synthesis Chemists.

RCPTM is one of your business partners. Why did you choose this centre?

RCPTM is approachable and has state-of-the-art equipment. Collaborating with Prague or Brno wouldn’t be convenient.

The collaboration between universities and industrial businesses is appealed for. How do you view it? What is your experience?   

Such collaboration is in demand. On the other hand, there is often lack of rapport between the two parties; moreover, business done at universities does not follow standard practice. Frankly, the scenario in which academics run their own business and still use the university expertise is not plausible. Particularly, if their requirements are unreasonable. Our former employees setting up businesses within the university serves as another example; it conflicts with moral standards.

Does it mean that even the university requires being careful about who you are choosing?

I hesitate to generalize it. Questionable practices are used not only here in Olomouc, though. I and other people in business can’t come into terms with it. Nevertheless, when it comes to collaboration with RCPTM, we’ve never had a problem. RCPTM plays fair, that’s what matters most. We also follow RCPTM’s publications and patents thinking about potential products that could be developed in our company. It is a long way to come, but we need to start now.