The transfer of Public Health England’s (PHE) clinical drug development and production capability into a standalone, state-owned biopharmaceutical limited company has been approved by the Secretary of State for Health.
Clinical drug production and development has taken place at Porton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire since the 1970s. In 2014, this generated revenues of more than £44m.
The new company, Porton Biopharma Limited (PBL), which is wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health, will employ more than 200 people at the Porton site and will be better placed to develop further business.
The future success and revenue growth of PBL will provide PHE with an income dividend, which will be ploughed back into the delivery of its priorities.
Managing director Dr Roger Hinton said: "This is exciting news for our customers and staff and will allow the business to grow at the Porton site.
"Having our independence means that we can really focus on developing our lifesaving products and services worldwide.
"Working as part of Public Health England, and prior to that in the Health Protection Agency, has enabled us to go through all the early stages of our development in a carefully managed and controlled manner.
"Now as a standalone 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."
Chairman Martin Hindle said: "The ambition, capability and expertise in the company is second to none.
"I feel privileged to work with such a dedicated group of people working to the benefit of patients and the wider economy."
The company manufactures the leukaemia drug Erwinase, as well as the only UK licensed Anthrax vaccine.
It also produces a wide range of clinical materials for clients and its containment level 3 capabilities enables it to produce bespoke low volume, high toxicity bacterial products and provides commercial services to overseas governments, including the US Department of Defence and the US National Institutes of Health.