Aesica marks 10 years in business with tenfold sales growth to £200m

Northumberland manufacturer Aesica is poised to unveil sales of £200m in latest accounts - a tenfold increase since the firm began.

Dr Robert Hardy of Aesica
Dr Robert Hardy of Aesica

Northumberland pharmaceutical giant Aesica has marked its tenth anniversary by unveiling a tenfold increase in its workforce and turnover over the last decade.

Dr Robert Hardy led the 2004 management buyout of BASF’s production facility in Cramlington to create Aesica Pharmaceuticals, which started out with 130 staff.

Last accounts for the firm showed the workforce had grown to 1,188 in the year ended December 2013, but Dr Hardy said that figure has now increased to 1,300 across its six development and manufacturing sites in the UK, Germany and Italy, having taken on new staff at the High Capacity Manufacturing Facility, based at the firm's existing site in Kent.

Dr Hardy opened the extension, in Queenborough, Sheppey, a year ago.

Since then, sales have been bolstered by more than £30m over the last 12 months.

First year sales at Aesica were £25m in 2004, but grew to £163.2m in 2012 and are expected to reach £200m when latest accounts are posted at Companies House later this year.

Dr Hardy said the firm’s success follows the company’s change in its core focus, from centring on contract active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing to full-service contract development and manufacturing (CMDO) – making tablets and packing them.

The firm has also grown through acquisition, having completed a number of buyouts in recent years including a UK chemical manufacturing facility from Merck & Co, a secondary manufacturing facility from Abbott in Kent and formulation development and clinical trial supply company, R5 Pharmaceuticals in Nottingham.

Looking ahead, directors aim to take revenue to new levels and eventually become a £1bn turnover firm, supplying the top five pharmaceuticals in the world.

Dr Hardy, the chief executive officer, said: “A significant factor that has contributed to the company’s success has been the substantial increase in our export growth and we now export to over 30 countries.

“An important driver for this was our capability to take full advantage of the trend within the pharmaceuticals industry to give more emphasis to mature medicines.

“We met this demand with our arthritis drug, flurbiprofen, with the API manufactured from our Cramlington site for the past 30 years and we are now established as a market leading supplier of flurbiprofen.

“We are proud of what we have accomplished during our first 10 years in the pharmaceutical contract manufacturing sector and we have achieved this success through a combination of strategic acquisitions, organic growth, continuous process improvement and investment.”

He added: “We plan to continue to expand our global footprint in key geographic markets and have firmly set the foundations to achieve our vision to be the number one supplier of APIs and finished dose products to the pharmaceuticals industry.”

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