MicroPharm to invest £2m on key production centre for anti-venom in Wales

The investment in new pharmaceutical manufacturing cleanroom facilities is being backed by the Welsh Government

Adder snake

MicroPharm develops immunotherapy products to target infectious diseases and acute toxic conditions and currently produce two anti-venoms for the treatment of snakebites from the European common adder and the carpet viper in West Africa.

The investment will also enable the company to capitalise on opportunities to increase its product range and support its on-going research to provide treatments for devastating diseases such as infection by Clostridium difficile and Ebola.

Its planned £2m expansion, supported by £150000 from the Welsh Government, will see it open new facilities at Cilgerran while retaining its base in Newcastle Emlyn. The investment is expected to create 15 jobs and safeguard a further 14, bringing the total headcount to 51.

It means that MicroPharm joins other similar companies that have chosen Wales as its base. For example, based in Llandysul, Protherics UK provides antivenin for North American pit viper envenomation in the US.

Ig-Innovations, also based near Llandysul, produces antibodies for supply to the research, diagnostic, biotech and pharmaceutical sector including MicroPharm, as well as direct sales.

MicroPharm’s CEO, Ian Cameron, said: “We have outgrown our existing facilities in Newcastle Emlyn and the new manufacturing facility at Cilgerran will provide a platform for the long term growth of the company. The Welsh Government has supported the growth of MicroPharm since its inception and we are grateful for the continued support.”

MicroPharm’s expertise lies in producing a range of immunotherapeutic products for clinical use — designed to treat acute, life threatening emergencies and required urgently either because no alternative exists or any alternatives are unsafe or ineffective.

In addition to anti-venoms, MicroPharm is also working on developing a ricin antitoxin having been awarded a contract, valued at up to £7m, last year by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It involves the production of ovine antibodies to the deadly poison ricin and their further processing and manufacture into a product suitable for human use.