Angel Biotechnology returns to North East roots

A COMPANY which was launched in the North East but left for Edinburgh four years ago has signed a 15-year lease on its former headquarters, where it aims to create 10 jobs.

Gordon Sherriff, Angel Biotechnology's chief operating officer

A COMPANY which was launched in the North East but left for Edinburgh four years ago has signed a 15-year lease on its former headquarters, where it aims to create 10 jobs.

Angel Biotechnology, which was named after the Angel of the North, is opening a second manufacturing base at its old unit in Cramlington.

The site – expected to be operational by the end of the year – will boost the company’s manufacturing capability by around five times to cope with the demands of expanding business.

Chief operating officer Gordon Sherriff said the premises have not been used since Angel left and need a fair bit of work to bring them up to scratch.

“One North East took it on to put an incubator unit in it their for biotech companies but that hasn’t come to fruition,” he said.

“There’s quite a lot of work. We need to recommission it and re-validate it, then it needs to be re-licensed by the MHRA (Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) before we can use it to manufacture for clinical trials.”

Angel has recently signed a five-year deal with Russian firm Materia Medica Holding and is also developing its business in the US.

The Cramlington site will be used to service that business and other work Angel is seeking in Europe.

The AIM-listed business raised £1.93m from a placing in January and will spend around half of this to fund its expansion. The money will cover the re-commissioning of the site.

The company, which specialises in antibody-based products, has taken on the facility for 15 years with an option to break after five.

Sherriff said: “The clean rooms are much larger than those in our Edinburgh facility, allowing us to undertake larger programmes, providing the scale-up capacity required to take major clients through phase three clinical trials and beyond.

“In addition, we will be able to offer manufacturing for commercially licensed therapeutics at a larger scale than currently possible.

“In addition to an already strong pipeline of prospective contracts, Angel can now confidently address the developing regenerative medicine market in the USA. The company's headquarters will remain in Edinburgh.

“We look forward to being back in the North East. There is a reasonable number of high-quality jobs going to be created.”

Angel is in the process of recruiting a senior operations manager to oversee the facility.

The company reported its first profits at the start of the month. It made pre-tax profits of £193,291 in the year to the end of December, from a loss of £753,730 the year before, with revenues doubling from £1.48m to £2.9m.

 
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