Sunday, June 7, 2020

Derbyshire firm drives 80% export growth in a year

Derbyshire-based biotechnology firm Retrogenix has increased its revenue from international sales by 80% in the last year with particular successes in China, Japan and South Korea, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

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

Two thirds of Retrogenix’s 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%. Sales to these countries now make up 5.5% of total revenue, according to its most recent financial reports, compared with 1.3% in the previous year.

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

Jim Freeth, Managing Director, Retrogenix, said: “Until now we’ve been mostly reactive to interest from China, Japan and South Korea, but 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. If we can do it then other businesses can too.”

Ian Harrison, Head of Exports for the Midlands at the Department for International Trade, 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.”

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