Want to know the science that makes beer less cloudy, egg whites whiter or protein shakes taste palatable? It’s all about enzymes. Life wouldn’t exist without these essential biological catalysts, which explains why Biocatalysts, the company that has spent over 30 years providing expertise to a wide range of industries, takes its name from them.
The business first moved to Treforest Industrial Estate with the help of the Welsh Development Agency in 1986, when it was a pioneer in making custom tailored speciality enzymes as well as off-the-shelf products. Serving clients in sectors ranging from food and fragrance to pharma and life sciences, Biocatalysts moved to its existing, purpose-built building in 2004, accommodating the laboratories, production areas, warehouses and offices which have allowed the company to continue its success and expand its ambitions.
“That move and our current building extension project was assisted by the Welsh Government – they are always keen to help biotechnology companies in Wales to grow,” says Caroline West, part of a Biocatalysts team which facilitate cutting-edge enzyme discovery, development and production for many blue-chip companies.
“We set great store by our track records in customer service and financial management. When we invest, it’s always done to benefit our customers.” Rapid growth – including more than doubling the size of their workforce – led to the addition of a new ￡1 million enzyme production plant to increase manufacturing capacity in 2014, and in 2017 building work commenced on a large extension to the current factory due to be completed in 2019. From its inception the company has exported its products globally and to facilitate this, the factory has Kosher status. Biocatalysts Inc, based in the US, supports their broad base of US customers.
A key differentiator of the company is the availability of the technical team to talk directly to customers who are experiencing problems. “The values of the company remain a key part of what makes us really special,” says West. “We are quirky. Visitors often comment about how friendly all the staff are and their obvious pride in their environment and work. We have a strong culture here that we have managed to sustain despite the big growth in staff numbers. We have an ongoing recruitment plan and finding people that have the specialist skills required to work here is always going to be a challenge but the career development opportunities can be exceptional.”