Almost 200 colleagues from around the world gathered at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, last week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Oxford PharmaGenesis and to reflect on our success.
It was all a far cry from the very first day the company opened, with one employee, back in January 1998. Founder and Chairman Dr Graham Shelton reminisced, “It was a bit quiet on day one: nobody phoned and the first visitor was next door’s dog, who popped in to check the contents of the waste bin.”
Since those early days, Oxford PharmaGenesis has developed into the world’s first HealthScience communications consultancy, and we are committed to helping our clients to bring new medicines to the world in areas of unmet need.
“We didn’t set out with a huge master plan, just a single client whom we looked after especially well, as he paid all our bills!” said Graham. “It wasn’t long before he was joined by others as word spread about the quality of our work. One employee became a small team of postdoctoral scientists and support staff, and one office became a network of offices in Oxford, London, Cardiff, Basel, Philadelphia and Melbourne, to support our global client base.”
“Today,” said Commercial Director Dr Richard White, “almost all our work is for clients overseas, with approximately 65% coming from mainland Europe and 21% from the USA. We were particularly pleased when this export success was recognized with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Outstanding Achievement in International Trade. But we haven’t finished yet. We have ambitious plans for future growth in the Far East, the Middle East, North and South America and Africa, so the next 20 years look set to be as exciting as the last. Watch this space!”
Meanwhile, the growth of Oxford PharmaGenesis continues apace. We have doubled in size in terms of revenues, offices and employees in the past 4 years, and our worldwide revenue grew by 35% last year alone. Our recent achievements include supporting clients in delivering scientific symposia in South America, masterclasses in the Middle East, research in Russia and articles in Africa, as well as projects in Japan and China.
However, some things have not changed. Oxford PharmaGenesis remains gloriously independent, and we pride ourselves on being a caring and responsible employer. Staff turnover is at an all-time low of 7% and, in a recent survey, 86% of employees said that we are a great place to work and 89% said that they are proud to work for us.
“We had a lot of fun at our anniversary celebration,” said Managing Director Dr Chris Winchester. “It was a great opportunity to say thank you, not just to our wonderful, talented employees but also to our pharmaceutical clients, who have improved the lives of patients in almost every area of medicine in the past 20 years. We were very pleased that some of the patients who’ve been part of our journey were able to be with us on the day to celebrate our successes and to motivate us all for the breakthroughs to come.”