Castium is one of the UK’s leading and most well-respected decontamination companies. Coming from humble beginnings, Castium now designs and delivers decontamination programmes for AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Cancer Research UK, Oxford Biomedica, Cambridge University and various Ministry of Defence (MOD) projects.

We caught up with Castium’s CEO Ross Meggison to discuss the impact of Covid within decontamination circles, bio-security requirements and how Castium ended up being the company of choice for so many of the big players.

With Covid changing the lives of so many, have you had to take additional steps or measures with regards to the projects you’re involved in?

The simple answer is no. Specialist decontamination has always played a big part in the companies we’ve been fortunate enough to work with. It’s only Covid that has really brought decontamination into the public eye. We’ve held firm and continued to ensure the integrity of our clients’ facilities by carrying out our day-to-day commitments.

Have you seen a change within the industry due to Covid?

Our clients are on the frontline when it comes to research, design, testing, manufacturing and production. It’s really only the product that has changed due to Covid. The focus has, of course, shifted heavily since December 2019 when we had our first inkling something wasn’t quite right, but what people tend to forget is that work and products unrelated to Covid need to continue. The scientists we work with on a daily basis truly are world leaders in their field, and we are very humbled to be able to provide a unique service that allows their work to continue.

Have specialist decontamination services increased within pharmaceutical facilities?

Many years ago, when I first got involved in decontaminating facilities, many of the services we offered were deemed a luxury as opposed to a necessity. I’ve noticed more and more companies are now investing additional time, money and resources into the biosecurity of their facilities, products and staff. Our main goal is to educate and I’m pleased to say we’ve managed to assist many of our clients in improving or adding to their standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure this is now standard.

Have you included any new services due to Covid?

No new services, but a definite increase in the services we provide. Due to Covid, we have taken on large contracts with the [UK] Government to decontaminate biological safety cabinets. With so much research, including test and trace, taking place, the amount of biological safety cabinets we now decontaminate has increased dramatically.

Castium carries out decontamination services for some very high-profile clients. How have you managed to set yourselves apart from other decontamination companies?

We tend to cover more bases, which makes life easier for our clients in the long run. Many of our competitors specialise in one or two of the services we offer. We’re in a fortunate position in that we can offer turnkey services, including services that many of our competitors would need to outsource.

[Our] flexibility is also a great asset. Anyone who’s involved in the process fully appreciates how often projects are put back or delayed, and we pride ourselves in being able to adapt to our clients’ requirements and schedules. Above all else, my team. I have an amazing team of consultants and technicians who work tirelessly to produce the required results.

Are there any projects Castium have carried out that you are especially proud of?

There are many projects that are more meaningful due to the various challenges our teams had to face. But if I had to mention a few special projects, it would be commissioning the Francis Crick Institute, commissioning the Anne McLaren Building and working alongside scientists to eradicate modern DNA for a cleanroom specifically designed for the research of ancient DNA.

Where do you see Castium in ten years?

Covid will have an impact on biosecurity for many years to come, and I believe positive changes are being made to allow us to better manage our facilities. We all have a part to play in keeping each other safe, and if Castium can play a part in that in ten years’ time, I’d be very happy.