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Selling products to the medical industry requires complex preparations and takes a long time, but once the process is completed, the rewards can be significant. In this interview with Christy Cheah, she talks about an interesting case in Thailand and the future possibilities for applications in the medical industry.

Helping People Treat Stomach Complaints with Activated Carbon

Christy, what is your job role at Jacobi?

I am the Sales Director for Asia, overseeing the Asia Pacific region, together with my 16 team members.

The Asian sales team had a breakthrough with a niche application; which application is it?

It’s a pharmaceutical application with PicaCtif™ Medicinal EP40, a specially manufactured activated carbon that meets the most stringent pharmaceutical standards for ingestible activated carbons – manufactured from the sustainable raw material, coconuts. In 2023, we sold 13 tonnes in total on three orders. This is another milestone for our Asia team.

What does this product do?

PicaCtif™ Medicinal EP40 is a powder carbon that can be used as an API: Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient for pharmaceutical use, i.e. one ingredient to make a drug. Applications range from the prevention of flatulence prior to abdominal X-ray examinations and the adsorption of toxins during blood dialysis, to the treatment of stomach problems and the prevention of odours in wounds or infections through integration into dressings.

Christy Cheah, Sales Director Asia.

“The successful partnership with Jacobi in Thailand is extremely promising and based on strong trust and efficiency. Thanks to Jacobi’s support, we managed to develop a sustainable business in Thailand with a promising growth outlook.”

Lars Witzel, Managing Director Biesterfeld
International Thailand Ltd.

Finely ground for a smooth texture and with low solubility in ethanol, the high-purity adsorbent is particularly suitable for ingestible preparations. The production facility is approved by ANSM (the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety) for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), which guarantees the highest quality standards. The product is effective in lowering cholesterol levels and treating cholestasis during pregnancy.

How is the business organised?

The end users are a few pharmaceutical companies in Thailand, but I can’t disclose who they are due to our NDA. Our customer is a distributor called Biesterfeld Spezialchemie.

What was the process before we achieved the large sales volumes?

We have been in contact with our distributor since 2020. They started with small volumes to test the application, a few kilos at a time, and when we had everything approved, we could begin delivering large volumes. The first commercial order was for 3.6 tonnes, and in total, during 2023, we delivered 13 tonnes. We have registered our product with the Thai Food and Drug Administration, which is a long and complex process. It has taken us two years to get everything approved in Thailand.

What does the future look like for the business of this application in Asia?

We are connected tightly to our distributor and the registration process is now done, so together, we are searching for new clients. We have an exclusive agreement with Biesterfeld not to sell to anyone else in their regions.

Our distribution partner, Biesterfeld Spezialchemie, is one of the leading international distributors of specialty chemical products, pharma and food ingredients. A partnership that we at Jacobi are very proud of. We were interested in hearing more about their views on the collaboration and talked to Mr. Lars Witzel, Managing Director at Biesterfeld.

Mr. Witzel, how did the partnership  with Jacobi in the Thai market start?

Our collaboration with Jacobi in the Thai market is the result of our long-standing presence and expertise in Thailand. We have been active locally since 2013 and focused on the pharmaceutical industry since 2016. As a supplier of pharmaceutical products, we reliably supply customers in Thailand, with our GDP (Good Distribution Practice) certification ensuring the highest quality standards.

In our search for a reliable supplier of pharmaceutical activated carbon that meets our quality standards, we came across Jacobi. The company has proven to be an excellent partner that not only supplies high-quality products but also has made a decisive contribution to our success through its support during the sampling process.

Working closely with Jacobi has enabled us to pass our customers’ stringent quality tests. Thanks to their efficiency and support, we were able to place our first orders quickly, which strengthened our position in the market.

Lars Witzel, at the back on the right, Managing Director at Biesterfeld, with his team in Thailand.

What is the most important thing for a good working relationship between a supplier and a distributor?

The key factors are trust, jointly defined goals and strategies as well as a common business ethics. Comprehensive mutual support, including taking on each other’s tasks, is essential. As a distributor, we focus on marketing the product, providing logistical solutions and bridging the gap between the manufacturer and the end customer.

The resulting synergy enables us at Biesterfeld to offer our customers and partners unique, market-specific support, whereby true excellence can only be achieved through joint and trusting cooperation – for mutual and sustainable success.

What is your view of our cooperation today?

The collaboration with Jacobi is still in its early stages, but we are optimistic that we can achieve significant milestones together. We regard Jacobi as a strategically important partner for active pharmaceutical ingredient distribution in Thailand. The collaboration has so far proven to be highly efficient and professional.

We are optimistic about this promising partnership and are firmly convinced that we will celebrate further successes together to strengthen our position in the market further.

The end product is manufactured from activated carbon that meets the most stringent pharmaceutical standards for ingestible activated carbons.

“To us, Jacobi is a very reliable and important ally we are happy having partnered up with. We can feel the drive between the Jacobi organisation and our Biesterfeld Thailand team and are very thankful for the trust received by Jacobi.”

Lars Witzel, Managing Director Biesterfeld
International Thailand Ltd.

How do you see our cooperation developing in the Asian market?

The prospects for developing our collaboration in the Asian market are extremely promising. Our aim is to identify further common points of intersection with Jacobi and to expand the existing collaboration to other products and industries in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia.

The positive collaboration so far has shown that Jacobi is a reliable partner, and we are confident that we can successfully expand into new areas together. This strategic expansion will allow us to take our partnership to a new level and further strengthen our commitment to the Asian market.

Please get in touch with Christy Cheah in the Asian team for more information about this product at

About PicaCtif™ Medicinal EP40

PicaCtif™ Medicinal EP40 from Jacobi Group is an API, active pharmaceutical ingredient. It means it will be used as an ingredient (bulk raw ingredient) in the formulation of some drugs designed by our clients who are pharmaceutical manufacturers and manufacture the end-products for consumers' use. Our clients most commonly manufacture these drugs in tablet form.


• Manufactured from the sustainable raw material coconuts.
• Compliant with the European Pharmacopoeia requirements.


Some benefits of PicaCtif™ Medicinal EP40

• Extremely high purity adsorbent.
• Suitable for ingestible preparations.
• Production facility approved by ANSM for GMP.
• European manufacturing site.
• Finely milled for a smooth texture.
• Low solubility in ethanol.
• Low trace metal contents.

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