DRUG firm Angel Biotechnology has signed up with WH Partnership to help it through the next stage of its return to Cramlington.
The firm – which makes clinical grade compounds for drug companies – was named after the Angel of the North, and operated from a factory in Cramlington until it relocated to Edinburgh in 2007.
However, it plans to return to its old factory next year after raising £1.93m on the Alternative Investment Market, and has signed a contract with engineering firm WH Partnership to get hold of engineering support and services needed to re-commission the factory.
Gordon Sherriff, chief operating officer of Angel Biotechnology Holdings plc, said: “We are very pleased to have secured the first class engineering services of WHP to provide the expertise for the essential engineering phase of the re-commissioning of the Cramlington facility.
“The company has an excellent reputation and track record in the GMP biomanufacturing arena. Many of its staff were involved in the initial design and build of the facility in 2005/6. Additionally, the company was employed in 2007 to de-commission the facility.
“WHP’s thorough understanding of the facility, coupled with its excellent track record of delivery, allows us to be confident of a predictable and timely engineering phase of the re-commissioning process.
“This was a key factor in our decision-making as our current and prospective customers, with whom there are on-going commercial discussions, require this level of certainty to commit new business to Angel before the facility is fully re-commissioned.”
While the business will retain its Scottish headquarters, it is looking to create 10 jobs in the area and has signed a 15-year lease on its old site. After its departure, One North East assumed control of the site with the intention of setting up a biotech incubator. However, this did not occur, and the regional development agency is due to close early next year.
Angel says the move back to Cramlington will quintuple its manufacturing capability, but it needs to re-commission it and get it re-licensed by the MHRA before it can be used.
It expects the facility to open next year, and it will be used to work on projects in Europe including a five-year deal agreed with Russia’s Materia Medica Holding. Angel is also looking to break further into the USA’s regenerative medicine market.