Whaley Bridge biotech firm celebrates 80% international export growth

Retrogenix uses unique technology to screen drugs and therapies for the pharmaceutical sector.
Retrogenix uses unique technology to screen drugs and therapies for the pharmaceutical sector.

A Whaley Bridge biotechnology firm has increased its revenue from international sales by 80 per cent in the last year, with particular successes in China, Japan and South Korea.

Retrogenix uses unique technology to screen drugs and therapies for the pharmaceutical sector.

The business works with 18 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies worldwide and its screening technology is driving wider advances in medical research.

Two thirds of its revenue is generated by sales to the United States, and last year growing demand from China, Japan and South Korea increased the volume of sales by over 700 per cent. Sales to these countries now make up 5.5 per cent of total revenue, according to its most recent financial reports, compared with 1.3 per cent in the previous year.

Jim Freeth, Managing Director of Retrogenix, said: “Until now we’ve been mostly reactive to interest from China, Japan and South Korea, but the Department for International Trade (DIT) has helped us to be more proactive in capitalising on the clear demand. We’ve grown from having just one contract in China last year to eight today.

“The majority of the global pharma sector speaks English which has made our exporting journey much less daunting, but there are other specific challenges we’ve faced. For example, shipping biological samples from China to screen here can be challenging for our clients because of restrictions on what can cross their borders. Working with DIT has helped us find solutions to this.”

Ian Harrison, DIT Head of Exports for the Midlands, said: “Since we started working with Retrogenix seven years ago, we’ve helped them set up international visits to potential customers overseas, provided support through a number of DIT-led programmes, as well as delivering mentoring and one-to-one advice.

“We’re delighted to see this has supported the impressive growth the business has achieved.”

Retrogenix has won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise; one in 2015 for innovation, and again in 2017 specifically in recognition of its growth in international trade.