Public Health England has transferred its clinical drug development and production capability into a stand-alone, state-owned biopharmaceutical limited company.

Clinical drug production and development has taken place at Porton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, since the 1970s, and last year revenues of more than £44 million were generated.

The new company, Porton Biopharma Limited, which is wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health, will employ more than 200 people, and is now “better placed to develop further business,” the government said.  

“Having our independence means that we can really focus on developing our life saving products and services worldwide”, explained managing Director, Roger Hinton, on the rationale behind the move.

“As a stand-alone company we can better compete in the biopharmaceutical market and shape our own future, pursue more opportunities and more rapidly respond to changes in global drug markets”, he said.

The company manufactures leukaemia drug Erwinase as well as the only UK licensed Anthrax vaccine.