Stamp of approval for SCM Pharma facility in Newburn

DRUGS company SCM Pharma has swelled staff by more than 40% as it prepares to forge into commercial production for the first time this summer.

Managing director Dianne Sharpe at SCM Pharma 5
Managing director Dianne Sharpe at SCM Pharma 5

DRUGS company SCM Pharma has swelled staff by more than 40% as it prepares to forge into commercial production for the first time this summer.

The company has been given the green light following a successful inspection of its new £6m pharmaceutical contract manufacturing facility in Newburn by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Construction on the 26,000 sq ft site began two years ago, after the firm reached capacity at their original laboratories in Prudhoe, and this new facility will be used primarily for the supply of licensed medicines to clients and patients across the world.

And since work began on SCM Newburn, the drug maker has increased headcount by more than 40% to 110, ensuring the facility is ready to go when the doors open for business this summer.

Founded in 2004 by non-executive chairman and entrepreneur Fiona Cruickshank OBE, SCM Pharma specialises in the sterile production of drugs destined for clinical trials, along with licensed medicines required by patients in niche markets.

It demerged from Northumberland’s Specials Laboratory in 2008 and focused on building its business from supplying clinics with bespoke medicines to winning contracts with larger drugs firms all over the globe.

Contract wins saw the company increase sales from £2.3m in 2010 to £4m in 2011, and the facility at Prudhoe was left bursting at the seams under demand, prompting the expansion to Newburn.

2011 also saw it open a US office to expand its growing client base in the States and a formulation facility was also opened at Sunderland University.

Managing director Dianne Sharp has previously described the firm as dealing in “the novel, the difficult and the dangerous” including very potent oncology drugs, and the new site has been constructed to handle highly potent, flammable and toxic products, along with controlled drugs, all of which can be filled into ampoules, vials and syringes.

Sharp said this new site massively increases SCM Pharma’s current and future capability and capacity and that the commissioning of this new site represents the firm’s biggest development since opening the doors of the clinical trial manufacturing facility in Prudhoe back in 2004.

Sharp said: “The official MHRA approval of our new facility is a huge landmark in the history of our company and heralds in a new era for our team. I’d like to thank all those involved in the planning, design and construction of SCM Newburn as the end result is what I believe to be one of the finest contract manufacturing facility of its type in Europe, which is fantastic for our region.

“Our business is deeply rooted in the North East and we feel very proud that Newburn will become a hub for the production and supply of licensed drug products to help patients worldwide.”

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