ChargePoint Technology, the Liverpool-based manufacturer that supplies precision containment valves to some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and chemicals businesses, has announced sales of £8.3m for the year January to December 2015, up 9% on 2014. The growth has been driven by healthy sales of its existing products in the US, Europe and Asia, but also by the global roll-out of a patented new valve system, which has taken the company into the biopharma market.
ChargePoint’s customers use containment valves to enable the safe transfer and handling of any powders used in the manufacturing process – for example when making drugs in tablet form. Its existing PharmaSafe valves are used for working with chemically-synthesised pharmaceuticals. The main focus of 2015 was taking to the marketplace a patented valve for drugs made from biological sources – such as vaccines – where raw materials must be certified as having remained free from bacterial contamination.
ChargePoint’s new bio valve AseptiSafe achieves this requirement, speeding up the production process and reducing costs by removing the need for large-scale cleanrooms.
'It is a revolutionary product and at a stroke takes down the high grade space requirement from a room to something about the size of a dinner plate. So we are talking about an industrial step change,' said Managing Director Chris Eccles. 'We are delighted with reaction to AseptiSafe so far and have achieved significant new revenues since launch. It is a case of walking before we run, but the fact is we have a game-changer in our marketplace.
'Overall, we have achieved 77% sales growth across the last four years and AseptiSafe has certainly raised our own expectations for what can deliver in the next four years.'
ChargePoint’s biggest marketplace is the US, where it achieved 20% of revenues from customers including Merck, Roche Genentech and Johnson & Johnson. In the UK, GSK and Aptuit are served by the business while in Central Europe sales have been led by Switzerland, Germany and Belgium from pharma heavyweights such as Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, Teva and Sanofi.
During 2015, China led ChargePoint’s progress in Asia. 'Pharma companies there are looking to export into the West,' said Eccles. 'They have to adapt and meet our standards and regulatory requirements and so are turning to proven Western tech like ours. There’s a great deal of activity upgrading manufacturing facilities, which has been great for us. In Japan, arguably the world’s most highly regulated pharma manufacturing centre, our sales are led by pharma companies looking to maintain and upgrade facilities.'
Invest Liverpool, the Mayor of Liverpool's inward investment agency, has worked closely with Chargepoint to support its growth plans. Ellen Cutler, Director of Invest Liverpool, said: 'Chargepoint is a superlative example of pioneering British invention and it’s fantastic to see world-class engineering companies like this thriving in our city region. The business’s investment in R&D has created a game-changing product which, coupled with the confidence and dynamism of its brilliant young management team, has helped the company to crack global markets and achieve fast growth in the USA, China and India.
'Our team has worked closely with Chargepoint from the outset to ensure that the company is supported in its growth ambitions and it’s very encouraging to witness its success story continuing to unfold.
'Liverpool is home to the largest cluster of biologic manufacturing in Europe and is geared towards supporting the growth and development of companies like Chargepoint. The Liverpool City Region’s bank of highly-skilled graduates and inexpensive office and laboratory space, coupled with a real commitment to developing a competitive, outward-looking knowledge economy, creates a fertile environment for ambitious, globally-focused companies looking to break into international markets.
'We look forward to seeing more exciting success stories like this emerging.'
ChargePoint has 62 staff globally. Eccles feels the strong sales growth is a result of the investments the business made in key personnel in 2014. 'It can take 18 months to two years for the training and development and knowledge of the marketplace to pay off. That’s happening now and translating into new business,' he said.
In June ChargePoint is moving to a new production facility in Speke, adjacent to its exiting site. The 27,000ft2 plant is being fitted out with new machinery worth in excess of £750,000; other investments in plant and facilities take the fit-out spend to more than £1m for a state-of-the-art facility.