News - 05 February 2014

Grant Boosts Turnover for Nottingham Pharma Firm

A specialist Nottingham research and development company, which already works with many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical businesses, is hoping that a new grant will enable it to increase turnover significantly over the next 12 months.

Upperton Limited, based in Nottingham, specialises in the production of spray dried dispersions (SDD) of pharmaceutical ingredients, for early stage drug development. 

Spray drying is a technique that can be used to make poorly soluble drugs more readily absorbed by the body.  Upperton is the only company in the UK able to offer larger scale manufacture of spray dried dispersions for clinical trials. 

Established in 1999, this specialist company works closely with many of the leading pharmaceutical businesses, taking drug products from early stage research and development to clinical manufacture.  

In fact seven out of 10 of the world’s leading businesses are already clients of Upperton. Some of its customers invest up to 10 years developing and testing new drugs, and manufacturing on a small scale to produce samples for clinical trials is an important part of this development process. 

A Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) of £20,000 will enable Upperton to modify its existing equipment so that it can offer a more comprehensive service to customers.  The grant will allow the firm to upgrade the existing spray dryer to process organic solvents – which is a growing market in the pharmaceutical sector. It is believed that once Upperton has this equipment in place, next month, it will become one of only four companies worldwide that have this capability.   

Dr Richard Johnson, the founding Director of Upperton, who has been based in the city for nearly 30 years, comments.  “The investment in equipment will help us to broaden our service to existing customers, as well as creating the opportunity for new business.  This will in turn help us to expand our business, and we are hoping to take on two new production scientists over the next two years.                                 

“Nottingham is already a renowned centre of excellence for the life sciences sector supported by the BioCity hub which provides industrial and commercial backing as well as the University of Nottingham who provide academic support.” 

In 2012 Upperton became a member of BioCity Nottingham, one of Europe’s largest bioscience incubators which is now home to more than 70 businesses working in the life sciences sector.  Upperton’s newly upgraded spray dryer will be based at Aesica Pharmaceuticals’ licensed facilities at BioCity. 

Toby Reid, Director at BioCity commented “Upperton is another Nottingham and BioCity success story and we’re delighted that it has been awarded an N’Tech grant to help fund exciting new developments for the business going forward.”   

Geared towards the growing life science, digital content and clean technology sectors, the N’Tech fund is run by Nottingham City Council and was launched in April 2013.  

The programme is focussed on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the greater Nottingham area, specifically to encourage manufacturing businesses to invest in 2014 and to support businesses to improve their production efficiency through energy savings and waste reduction. 

Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Skills at the City Council, said: “Life science is a sector in which Nottingham has great strength. Companies like Upperton are at the core of that – innovative companies debuting cutting edge technologies, and transforming our economy. N’Tech has been set-up specifically to invest in companies that can make game-changing offers in their sectors, which results in continued success for the city. Nottingham is proud to be a city that helps business to flourish.”  

N’Tech is part of the £50million Nottingham prospectus, the city’s package to attract investment to boost Nottingham’s economy which forms a key part of the Nottingham Growth Plan.  N’Tech grants are funded solely through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).  Nottingham City Council secured RGF from the Government for grants to help fast track development of businesses based in the city. The funding can provide grants of £20,000 to £1million per successful company to support growth and expansion. 

The N’Tech fund has so far had 29 successful applications across the digital content, life sciences and clean technology sectors and awarded grants to the value £2.9 million with 540 jobs created and safeguarded.

Source: Growing Nottingham

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