Bath ASU gets ready to welcome a royal visitor

His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester will present Corsham-based pharmaceutical specials manufacturer Bath ASU with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the innovation category at a ceremony at the company’s headquarters on Friday 27th September.

Bath ASU won the award for Innovation for a ground-breaking initiative that has improved treatment for patients and saves the NHS significant amounts of money. The company worked on programmes to extend the manufacturers’ shelf lives of biologic chemotherapy drugs.

Biologics, including monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapies and targeted therapies, have been growing in importance for some years but suffer from short shelf lives, commonly as little as 8-24 hours for specialist treatments that can cost several thousand pounds each.

This was an inherent weakness that had a profound impact on patient outcomes and on the hospitals’ capacity and ability to treat patients effectively. It also resulted in regular wastage of products that had to be disposed of and replaced because they expired without being administered to the patient.

Bath ASU established the R&D unit with private funding to try to find a way of extending the shelf lives of these products. In order to achieve that it had to prove that it was technologically possible and change the way NHS hospitals operate. They succeeded in doing this after years of dedicated work. The NHS Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance Committee ratified the approach by adopting a new standard, enabling Bath ASU to offer biologics to the market with shelf lives extended up to a maximum of 84 days.

“We are honoured and delighted to learn that we will be receiving this award from HRH the Duke of Gloucester and the entire company is looking forward to welcoming him here,” comments Bath ASU Director Chris Watt. “The Award itself is fantastic recognition of the outstanding dedication and commitment of the team which has directly resulted in a better experience for cancer patients and provided a major helping hand for oncology units in hospitals throughout the country. The Queens Award is a tremendous reward not just for the R&D team, but for the entire business and every single member of staff,” he concludes.