Drug company plans a global expansion

A PHARMACEUTICAL firm has laid out aggressive growth plans that could see it snap up new acquisitions in Europe and the US, and invest £5m on upgrading its Northumberland headquarters.

Picture to represent Aesica Pharmaceuticals

A PHARMACEUTICAL firm has laid out aggressive growth plans that could see it snap up new acquisitions in Europe and the US, and invest £5m on upgrading its Northumberland headquarters.

Drugs giant Aesica, which employs around 150 people in Cramlington, has trebled in size since its inception five years ago and now expects to treble its £100m-a-year turnover by 2013.

It says it is hopeful of acquiring businesses in the US and Europe by the end of the year as it looks to expand overseas, and in the longer term is eyeing up opportunities in India and China. Aesica, which also has sites at Ponders End in North London and Queenborough in Kent, as well as a head office on Newcastle’s Balliol Business Park, employs 700 people in total.

The company was forced to cut its North East workforce by 50 last year, but the company is now preparing to recruit up to 30 scientists on the back of a planned investment in new technology at its Cramlington site.

Over the next two to three years, the firm plans to invest around £5m “to grow its technological presence” at its research and development centre in Cramlington.

Meanwhile, the company recently appointed John Parker as non-executive chairman and Nick Jones as chief financial officer, as former CFO Adam Sims became commercial director.

Chief executive Dr Robert Hardy said the boardroom reshuffle was done ahead of what the company sees as a period of aggressive growth through mergers and acquisitions.

John Parker was formally CEO of the Harrogate plc Intercare Group, a pharmaceutical contract manufacturer that he helped transform through strong organic growth and significant M&A activity. Dr Hardy said: “All three of our sites are profitable and the company is performing ahead of budget which is pretty unusual at the moment.

“We’ve got a pretty aggressive M&A strategy and we are looking to expand the organisation from a technology point of view and a global scale. We are looking to acquire outside the UK in Europe and the US.

“We have trebled in size in the last five years and we are hoping to repeat that in the next three to four years.”

Aesica is named after a fort on Hadrian’s Wall and was spun out of German chemical giant BASF through a management buyout in 2004

The company supplies pharmaceutical ingredients and formulated products to a number of leading international drug companies.

We are looking to expand the organisation from a technology point of view and a global scale.

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