Onyx Scientific owners analyse potential expansion plans

Senior managers at Onyx Scientific are to hold top level meetings with their Indian owners to discuss expansion plans

Ipca Laboratories executives visit Onyx Scientific senior team
Ipca Laboratories executives visit Onyx Scientific senior team

Senior managers at Onyx Scientific are to hold top level meetings with their Indian owners to discuss expansion plans, two years after it was acquired for £5m.

Onyx Scientific has grown to become one of the leading chemistry services companies in the UK and Europe and a preferred supplier to large pharma and biotech clients.

But like many others within its sector the 13-year-old business suffered during the economic crisis, predominantly due to a reduction in research and development by its primary customers, forcing it to reduce its 60-strong workforce by a third.

However, the firm’s expertise was recognised in September 2011 when it was bought out by Indian pharmaceuticals firm Ipca Laboratories Ltd, a move which enabled the Wearside chemists’ work to complement their new owners capabilities.

While the 40-strong firm had previously only provided early stage development of drugs its new owners can handle the later stages of drug development, including formulation, allowing the business to deliver a full development service.

Since being acquired, Onyx’s owners have cushioned potential financial blows struck by the continuing economic downturn, allowing them to concentrate on what they do best, a strategy which has seen a significant lift in business.

Now, the firm is growing once more and three new PhD chemists have joined the team, taking the number of chemists to 20. Further expansion plans are also being discussed in Mumbai next month, when the parent firm will hold a review with Onyx Scientific’s senior team. Commercial director Denise Bowser said: “It has been quite tough economically but Ipca have given us support throughout that period. That ownership has given us the long term strategy to be able to look forward.

“And we have really been busy. We now have three business development directors and we’ve recently taken on three new PhD chemists.

“The strategy is that we increase the contract research and manufacturing business of Ipca – we feed into their pipeline and we hold a key role in their strategic vision.

“Looking forward, they are very supportive of us and are looking to invest in new potential technology. They are examining the business flow from the UK and want to make sure we have every offering in place so that could potentially involve expansion in the North East.

“Nothing is set in stone and it’s just at the brainstorming stage. Senior management are going out to India next month for a general review and we hope to come back with good news.

“All in all, the firm is growing strongly.”

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