The UK chemical industry, including pharmaceuticals, is one of the world’s top chemical-producing nations. CrystecPharma is a crystal and particle engineering solution provider that began trading in 2009. Since then they have worked alongside the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) chemical sector specialists to develop their pharmaceutical exports all over the world. Catherine Hunter, Business Development Director (pictured), tells us how this Bradford-based business has seen its best commercial opportunities outside the UK.
Catherine, can you tell us more about CrystecPharma and what it is you do?
CrystecPharma is an enabling technology company focused on working with the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. We have a core technology that helps to improve the performance of medicines in a range of dosage forms. These can be new or existing therapeutics that perhaps don’t perform as well as people would like, so we apply our platform to design performance into products, ultimately allowing companies to overcome their product development challenges.
How important is exporting to CrystecPharma and what have been some of your key markets?
Interestingly, although the UK does still have a strong pharmaceutical sector, we’ve actually seen only a small proportion of our trade from UK companies, so we’ve always had a strong international focus. The company was originally set up in China, so we’ve maintained an interest in the Chinese market. Aside from that, we have many clients in North America, Europe, and in the last 12 months have secured contracts with Canadian companies.
“Where we’ve had support from DIT, we inevitably see an improvement in export or an ability to secure contracts and contacts in countries we’d perhaps not worked in before.”
Catherine Hunter, Business Development Director
You’ve been working with DIT since you started trading in 2009. What kind of support have you had?
We’ve been working with our International Trade Adviser (ITA) to access different ways that DIT can help in the UK, as well as interacting with other DIT offices around the world. We’ve worked with DIT offices in Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and Spain specifically. It’s nice to have an ability to reach customers in new countries and I think that’s a specific area where DIT has helped us.
What kind of relationship do you have with your ITA?
One word, fantastic. He’s incredibly proactive, always with an ear to the ground for funding opportunities, missions or meetings where we could make valuable contacts. We have regular catch up calls and meetings to update on where we are and our focus for the next 3, 6 or 12 months.
Tell us how you used your funding support?
Throughout the year, we always attend a number of big international pharmaceutical conferences and these tend to be events where the conference fees are often quite expensive. We’ll plan a very full programme of meetings with potential or existing customers. Last year the DIT helped two of us attend BIO which is one of the largest pharmaceutical conferences held every summer in the United States. We had over 80 pre-arranged meetings, but we had more than 100 meetings in total. It was the best event we’d ever had in terms of numbers and one of our pre-arranged meetings led to us securing a six-figure contract. Without Trade Access Programme (TAP) funding I don’t know that two of us would have gone and that would have had an impact on the number of meetings we could schedule… who knows, without the funding that meeting might never have happened!
What are your plans for the future?
We have had a good 12 months in terms of exporting, as well as securing some contracts in the UK so it’s been a balance for us. Looking forward, we’re hoping for continued growth and focus on our key markets in order to expand our reach in North America, China and Europe specifically.
Lastly, do you have any words of advice for businesses who are looking to export in future?
I think there’s so much opportunity out there but to people who aren’t exporting it can be quite daunting. The key thing to remember is that there are so many people who can support businesses in this space, those who are knowledgeable about the processes that need to be in place for you to export successfully. Use the support networks that organisations like the DIT offer; ultimately if you can use those associations effectively and go forward with a solid plan in place, then the opportunities are potentially huge.
If you would like more information on developing your businesses’ pharmaceutical exports, speak to one of our specialist International Trade Advisers.
Enterprise Growth Solutions Ltd (EGSL) deliver the contract for the Department for International Trade in Yorkshire and the Humber.