A leading life sciences company has celebrated the official opening of new 10,000 sq ft facilities, part-funded by The Journal’s Let’s Grow fund.
Cambridge Research Biochemicals, in Billingham, secured £65,000 through the programme, run in partnership with BE Group and UNW LLP.
The financial boost has helped support a £0.9m investment programme that has seen the firm purchase a new site at Belasis Hall Technology Park, refurbish it and equip it with laboratory and office space.
The new facility, named the Gardner Ratcliffe Building after two long-standing customers, also features a cell culture suite, and allows the business to increase capacity and speed up production times.
Founded in Cambridge in 1980, Cambridge Research Biochemicals moved to the North East when it was acquired by ICI in 1989.
After a succession of large corporation owners from Zeneca to Avecia, it was bought by its management team in 2000 and became an independent privately-owned specialist company again.
Emily Humphrys and Alison White, directors for 14 years, are now the longest-standing owners.
A leading British supplier of custom-made peptides and antibodies - both key tools in drug discovery - Cambridge Research Biochemicals supplies researchers in the pharmaceutical, life science and academic sectors worldwide.
Its recent successes include the licensing rights for a novel method that allows peptides to carry therapeutic drugs directly into cells, benefitting those suffering from diseases such as muscular dystrophies, cancer and metabolic disorders.
The firm has also renewed its contract with UK Shared Business Services Ltd (UKSBS), enabling it to build on its existing relationship with the Medical Research Council and other UK research institutes. as well as exploring opportunities to work with a wider pool of universities.
To mark the official opening of the new building, a ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling ceremony was held, along with a talk by Professor Gillian Griffiths, the Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.
Guests - who included Dr Joseph Gardner and Dr Steven Ratcliffe of Pfizer and GSK respectively - also enjoyed a tour of the peptide and immunology laboratories, viewing demonstrations of key techniques performed by the in-house team of chemists and biologists.
Alison White, operations director at CRB, said: “The Official Opening of the Gardner Ratcliffe building was a fantastic opportunity to welcome guests to our new facility and showcase our talents for generation of top quality research tools including custom peptides and bespoke antibodies.
“We were privileged to welcome Drs Steven Ratcliffe and Joseph Gardner to the building and to hear from Professor Gillian Griffiths on the success of CRB’s antibodies in her research over the years.”
Emily Humphrys, CRB’s commercial director, said: “The event was a huge success and we look forward to spending many fruitful and productive years in our new facility.”
Let’s Grow - which The Journal and our sister paper on Teesside The Gazette is running with BE Group and UNW - is part of a £30m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) programme designed to help fund R&D projects that create or safeguard jobs in the North East.