Life Sciences

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics

Tried & tested
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics has been manufacturing complex medical diagnostic equipment in South Wales for almost 40 years. Paul Hales explains why it's the perfect location for a successful life-sciences business.

What exactly does the company do? 
Around 70% of medical decisions are taken using in vitro diagnostics – the testing of blood and tissue samples – and we’re a global leader in this field. We serve immunohaematology communities around the world, including hospitals, hospital networks, blood banks and clinical laboratories in nearly 130 countries. If a doctor asks you to give blood for a test, it may well be one of our products that will test it. 

How does Wales fit in to your global strategy? 
On site in Pencoed we’ve got about 450 people making immune assay and immunohaematology products. We’ve had a presence in this area for around 40 years. We started in Cardiff in 1980, and moved to a state-of-the-art facility at Pencoed in 2010. We how have a diverse mix of people, from young graduates and apprentices through to staff with over 30 years’ experience. Over the years, we’ve seen the life sciences community in Wales grow and grow, and we’re proud to have been a large part of that. We believe that Wales is a vibrant place to do business. It’s got everything we need to serve our marketplace. 

How is the company ensuring it can recruit the right talent for years to come? 
Every company will say that people are its most important asset, and we’re no different. We’re equally delighted with the apprentices that we get from local colleges and the graduates that come out of the fantastic universities we’ve got on our doorstep. The beauty of being in the sector for a long period of time is that we’re now able to attract the top talent from these universities. We’ve found the students we have hired to be first class in aptitude, attitude and potential. I’m sure that the thinking of these young people will help our company evolve and improve for many years to come. 

Has business support been available to you in Wales? 
The Welsh Government have been there whenever we’ve needed them, engaging with us and offering an array of resources to support our continued success. They can help with things on your doorstep, and also with international trade links. I really think the Welsh Government is a champion for innovation and industry in Wales. 

What advice would you give life sciences companies thinking of locating in Wales?
I would say that Wales hits the mark for business, whether you’re coming here at an early stage or you’re established. The same principles apply whatever stage your company has reached. Wales has a skilled workforce across many disciplines. Location is important, too. Our distribution links are strong: we’re relatively close to all the major ports and airports. Allied to the supportive government, it’s a recipe for success. 

Do you expect to be doing business in Wales for another 40 years? 
Our reason to exist is to save and improve lives through diagnostics. To that end, we’ll keep our focus on serving our global customers in hospital labs and blood banks all around the world. Building on the excellent resources and support we have here in the heart of Wales will help us do that.