Company invests £12m to produce components of Covid PCR tests

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A Hull firm specialising in designing and making pharmaceutical packaging is producing millions of components used in Covid-19 PCR tests after investing £12m in new facilities, with support from Lloyds Bank.

Origin Pharma Packaging, based in Melton, relocated its distribution depot to a new site in Scunthorpe and redeveloped the vacated space at its headquarters to create a facility for filling the vials used in sample collection kits.

The investment gives Origin a new string to its bow, supporting its ambition to double turnover within three years.

The facility, which is highly automated and completely sterile, can fill up to 140 million vials per year.

It is anticipated that, in future, it will be used to supply Covid-19 vaccines and other drugs.

Managing director Keith Wade said: “Demand for sample collection kits meant we had to flex very quickly and get this facility up and running within months.

“It is one of the leading facilities of its kind in the country and a big asset for the business.

“We felt obliged to be part of the fight against the pandemic, both at home and around the world.

“It’s a versatile site, opening up new opportunities for us to work alongside new partners, and creating highly-skilled jobs. We’ve never stopped investing, but this will take us to the next level.”

The family-owned business, which also has offices in Glasgow, Manchester, London and Sydney, specialises in producing medicine bottles for liquids and tablets and is a leading supplier to UK pharmacists.

Turnover has grown from £10m in 2015 to more than £20m in 2020, and Origin is targeting revenues of £40m by the end of 2023.

Around 30% of revenues currently come from exports, and the company is pursuing growth opportunities in Europe, including in the medicinal cannabis sector and cosmetics industry.

It is also developing a new line of interactive packaging that will help record data in clinical trials of new drugs, making the process faster and more accurate.

Natalie Hancock, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Origin has risen to the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic and is an essential supplier of tests to countries around the world.

“This investment means that, as well as designing and manufacturing pharmaceutical packaging to the highest standards, by branching out into component production Origin can now provide a complete solution for its customers.

“Origin is a fantastic example of an innovative, entrepreneurial and highly ambitious Yorkshire business that is making a difference in the world as well as achieving commercial success.”

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