County Durham's Quantum Pharmaceuticals parent group post £9.3m losses

The Burnopfield parent firm of Quantum Pharmaceuticals said trading across its subsidiaries was encouraging

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The group behind County Durham-based medicines manufacturer Quantum Pharmaceutical Limited says losses have widened to £9.39m, following a period of acquisition and research spending.

Burnopfield-headquartered Hamsard 3149 Limited, the parent group of unlicensed medicines manufacturer and supplier Quantum Pharmaceutical, and Tomms Pharmacy, reported goodwill amortisation of £6.84m relating to recent acquisition of Cheshire-based Protomed Ltd.

An increase in research and development expenditure of £818,000 during the year to the end of January 2014 also contributed to the losses, which had increased from £7.7m in its 2013 year.

Quantum Pharmaceutical, the group’s main trading subsidiary, was said to be performing in line with Hamsard board expectations.

The manufacturer saw a 14% year-on-year increase in overall order numbers, and particularly strong growth within the firm’s Special Obtains unit which supplies unusual and difficult to source products to help meet specific patient needs.

In this division Quantum Pharmaceutical saw order numbers increase by 52%.

During the period Quantum Pharmaceutical secured an MHRA license for its newly built Aseptic facility at the Burnopfield site - which will allow the firm to deliver patient specific aseptic preparations to hospitals with quick turnaround.

Elsewhere Hamsard noted the good performance of its Hertfordshire-based UL Medicines business, acquired in 2012.

The division’s profits increased by 18.8% year-on-year, driven by a reduction in operating costs and strong performance across its core hospital and wholesale markets.

During the year UL Medicines was also appointed as a preferred supplier on NHS supply Framework Agreements for supply of unlicensed imports in Scotland, East Midlands and North West of England.

In the Hamsard’s Directors’ Report, director Martin Such said: “The group is committed to a continuing programme of research and development in order to retain a competitive position in the market.

“The research and development expenditure primarily relates to the development of products as opposed to basic or applied research.”

In March this year the Office of Fair Trading imposed a £370,226 fine on Hamsard and its subsidiaries due to a breach of competition law, occurring when the firm, together with Celesio AG and its subsidiary Lloyds Pharmacy Limited (Lloyds) took part in a market sharing agreement in relation to the supply of prescription medicines to care homes in England.

The OFT found that under the market sharing agreement, the companies agreed that Tomms would not supply prescription medicines to existing Lloyds’ care home customers between May and November 2011.

In return, for at least some of the time, Lloyds also agreed not to supply prescription medicines to existing Tomms’ care home customers.

The fine marked the close of an investigation into the firms dating back to 2013, when Hamsard agreed to pay a maximum fine of £387,856. This penalty was reduced from £646,426, the maximum amount for such a breach, owing to the company’s admission and agreement to co-operate with the OFT.

At the time, Ann Pope, OFT senior director, Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets Group,said the infringement was a “serious breach” of competition law, which reduced competition for the supply of prescription medicines to some care homes

Hamsard employs 348 people across six sites in the UK.

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