Penn Pharma officially opens contained manufacturing facility

For the manufacture of tablets and capsules containing potent compounds

Penn Pharma officially opens its contained manufacturing facility. (L-R): Richard Yarwood, CEO; Mark Molyneux, Chairman; Lord Lieutenant Simon Boyle; Hywel Evans, Non-Executive Director; Mark Dean Netscher, COO

A £14m state-of-the-art facility for the development and manufacture of tablets and capsules containing potent compounds was formally opened today (26 September) by Penn Pharma. An official representative of the Queen, the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, was in attendance to mark the economic importance of the occasion.

The celebration is the culmination of an important investment at the hi-tech facility in Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, Wales.

The facility employs nearly 300 staff with 15,000ft2 devoted to the new contained facility that will develop and commercially manufacture tablets and capsules meeting the highest international quality standards.

The plant caters for the growing range of highly potent compounds, such as the proliferation of cancer drugs, which require particular contained manufacturing processes to produce safely on both a development and commercial scale.

Cutting-edge technology within the new facility includes highly contained equipment trains designed to minimise the need for personal protective equipment (PPE). Penn has adopted a clear design-for-manufacture approach ensuring reproducibility from development scale (1kg) to commercial scale (120kg).

This celebration marks the huge efforts by everyone at Penn Pharma

In May of this year and less than 12 months since the expansion plans were announced to build the facility, the first batch of coated tablets were produced, putting this project ahead of schedule.

Penn Pharma's Chief Executive Richard Yarwood said: 'This celebration marks the huge efforts by everyone at Penn Pharma. Tomorrow we’ll be hard at work as usual but today is a chance to stop briefly, see how far we’ve come and officially launch our new facility. The investment shows our commitment to this area and to our customers globally, who trust us to provide timely solutions for their needs. We’re delighted now to be able to meet both current and the evolving needs of our clients. We’re a successful and growing company attracting more and more clients from around the world who can see the quality and reliability of what we produce. With this new facility we will continue to build our reputation – the future is very bright.'

Penn Pharma's Chief Operating Officer Mark Dean-Netscher added: 'The new facility is key to bringing in greater efficiency and capacity to our operations. It’s another important step in our on-going expansion. Our new facility ensures we are positioned to become a trusted partner to our customers who required contained services. Our strength lies in the fact that we can take highly potent compounds from molecule to market under one roof.'

Now in its 33rd year, Penn Pharma delivers integrated drug development, clinical trial supply and manufacturing services to the international healthcare industry. It is a rare growth area in a business sector rebalancing amid tough times beyond the former blockbuster drugs.

The opening is a key moment for the firm since it was launched in 1979 in Penn, Buckinghamshire, from which it takes its name. Just seven years later it moved to its base in Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent.

From the start Penn Pharma has targeted foreign markets, so that by 2013 just over half of sales (51%) were in the US, with 25% in Japan, Europe and Australia, and only 24% in the UK.

Accolades have included the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category in 2003, which the company scooped again in 2010.

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