Every company likes to think it makes a positive impact. For Convatec, a UK listed company, that belief comes from knowing its range of innovative wound, ostomy, continence and infusion care products are helping millions of patients living with chronic disease every single day.
Convatec has a global reach – selling into almost 100 countries - but a key part of its research, development and manufacturing operations are based at Deeside and Rhymney in North and South Wales respectively.
“Convatec is a market leader in supporting people living with conditions. In the wound care segment, we're known around the world for our Hydrofiber (a soft, absorbent material that transforms into a gel on contact with wound fluid) technology and our silver dressings (which help reduce the presence of bacteria in a wound and help prevent the spread of infection].
These dressings – including their research and development – are made in Wales,” says Sean Willis, Convatec’s VP for Research and Development in Advanced Wound Care.
Convatec’s commitment to pioneering trusted medical solutions to improve lives is helping the company lead in a highly competitive sector and makes it an important player in the vibrant Welsh life sciences community – in 2022, the company’s revenues across its categories were more than $2 billion.
Convatec is very much a life sciences veteran here in Wales. It’s been operating out of Deeside since 1982, just four years after it was founded as a standalone division of the E.R. Squibb & Sons, Inc., later part of Bristol Myers Squibb. Today, Convatec is directly responsible for around 800 jobs in Wales, and having R&D centred on Deeside brings a number of advantages.
“We’re in a great location with respect to recruiting staff and drawing on academic expertise,” says Willis. “There’s Bangor and Glyndwr universities locally, but we also have strong relationships with the universities of Manchester and Liverpool. We also have a growing apprenticeships programme as well. As a result, we are able to attract great talent.”
Both Deeside and Rhymney benefit from strong transportation links within and outside Wales which help attract the talent Convatec is looking for. Having access to Wales’s natural beauty - whether it be Eryri National Park or the Brecon Beacons - also is a great attraction when Convatec is recruiting talent from outside Wales. As a result, the company continues to build a rich and diverse talent pool that puts it in a good position to take advantage of the fast-growing advanced wound care market.
This pooling of expertise also has a knock-on effect for the local community as Lucy Ballamy, Senior Research Advisor at Convatec explains.
“I'm from Wrexham, originally and I never imagined when I first went down the academic route that I'd come back to here to work. Now I live nearby in Llangollen so I’m back in the locality but can still work in a job that I originally wanted to do,” she says.
Keeping a strong knowledge base in Wales - Ballamy’s expertise is in developing early-stage R&D opportunities – is an additional benefit.
“It’s important for us to give back to the community through volunteering and knowledge transfer where we can, which Convatec actively encourage and support,” she says. “For example, I'm a governor at a local primary school and I spend a few days each term encouraging the STEM groups by trying to make science a fun activity. We set off rockets in the schoolyard and try to solve maths problems through innovative thinking – even making towers out of spaghetti!”
Of course, being a good neighbour isn’t really rocket science – it’s just the sort of smart business that helps guarantee a strong future. And that is exactly what Convatec believe they are on course to achieve.
Learn more about Convatec on the Convatec website.