Swindon company begins drug capsule manufacturing for clinical trials

Wasdell Packaging Callum Wilson with drug capsules & machinery

For the first time in eight years, Swindon is manufacturing drug capsules for clinical trials, thanks to pharmaceutical and health product specialist group Wasdell.

Wasdell Chairman Martin Tedham, who bought Wasdell in 2010 and moved it to Swindon, says the group has invested in specialist machinery that can manufacture capsules for drugs being used by the pharmaceutical industry in small batch clinical trials. One of Wasdell’s first Swindon contracts was packing capsules for a locally-based pharmaceutical firm. However, that firm was taken over by an international company, and manufacturing of the capsules ceased in Swindon in 2012.

“Supporting all-important small batch clinical trials is one of our specialisms, and lately we have been inundated with requests from hospitals and medical professionals to manufacture these capsules,” said Martin.

“As one of the few UK life science partners to hold MIA IMP (Investigational Medicinal Products) Licence – that is, licence to manufacture and pack drugs for clinical trials – we feel this investment is important and worthwhile. From a personal point of view, it’s also very gratifying to know that Wasdell has brought back the manufacture of pharmaceutical capsules to Swindon.”

The project is being run by senior quality specialist Callum Wilson.

Callum said: “This new machinery is perfect for manufacturing the small batches that are used in clinical trials. We are already manufacturing blinded actives, placebos and comparators. Actives are the drugs which are being evaluated by doctors or scientists, comparators are drugs that are already being used to treat medical conditions, and placebos contain no drug product at all.”

The drugs are sent directly by Wasdell to hospitals and clinics across the UK and EU. Wasdell can trace which drug is in which pack, and in the case of a double blinded trial, in order to protect trial  integrity, it is essential that neither the doctors nor their patients are aware of whether they are taking a drug being trialled or not.