Intertek expands lab operations in Manchester, UK

Opens new biologic medicine contract services laboratory to be used for the development of medicines such as monoclonal antibodies

Left to right: Will Cavendish, Department of Health; Chetan Parmar, VP Intertek Life Sciences; John Stageman, Chairman BioNow at the opening ceremony

Intertek, a global testing and certification group, has opened a new 10,000ft2 (around 900m2) biopharmaceutical lab to support a growing pipeline of biologics medicines, such as monoclonal antibodies, currently in development.

The new facility will expand capacity to create 30,000ft2 (2,800m2) of analytical and bioanalytical laboratories at the firm's Blackley, Manchester-based Centre of Excellence for Biologics.

Marketing Manager Dr Lorna Kettle said the firm will add 10 jobs over the next three year to the 85 scientists, analysts, immunoassay and immunogenicity experts, protein scientists and cell biologists currently working in the laboratories.

The firm currently operates six sites in the North of England, employing 320 people. Globally the firm has 38,000 staff in more than 100 countries.

The new bioanalysis, immunogenicity and characterisation capability will help drug companies to ensure that biologics medicines such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), recombinant proteins and vaccines are safe and effective to treat heart disease, cancer-related diseases such as leukaemia or melanoma and other chronic ailments.

Among the exciting projects now starting at this lab is testing of novel monoclonal antibody therapeutics

Chetan Parmar, Senior Vice President of Intertek Life Sciences said: 'This investment is key to providing the level of resource required to meet the ever increasing demand for our expertise and experience. Among the exciting projects now starting at this lab is testing of novel monoclonal antibody therapeutics, as well as antibody drug conjugates, which are highly complex yet offer great potential for a range of difficult-to-treat cancers.'

Ashleigh Wake, Intertek Biopharmaceutical Services Leader, added: 'We are seeing a growing demand for contract safety and efficacy services for innovative antibody therapeutics which address previously unmet medical needs. There is also demand for comparability and characterisation testing services for numerous monoclonal antibody biosimilars which are on the cusp of being launched over the next few years, as patents on drugs such as infliximab, trastuzumab and rituximab are set to expire in the US.'

Life Sciences Minister George Freeman said: 'The impressive new Intertek laboratory underlines the importance of the Northern Powerhouse to the UK’s life sciences industry, which has already seen £3.5bn of investment and the creation of 11,000 jobs since the Prime Minister launched the UK Strategy for Life Sciences in 2011.

'With its ability to bring 21st century medicines one step closer to NHS patients, this facility can drive the innovation and growth of the future, putting life sciences in the north-west firmly on the map,' Freeman added.

Intertek has been providing Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) compliant bioanalytical services to global pharmaceutical clients supporting their preclinical and clinical studies and immunogenicity assessment for more than 20 years.

The firm also provides Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) pharmaceutical development and manufacturing support services spanning analysis, formulation development from its network of regulatory laboratories across the globe.