Formerly a senior pharmaceuticals executive in Mumbai, Thembalath Ramachandran (known as TR) came over to the UK in 1997 to start his own new company – Bristol Laboratories. From a tiny office in Harrow, it has grown to a 300-strong enterprise with its head office in Berkhamsted and a manufacturing facility in Luton.
Bristol Laboratories is one of the UK’s fastest-growing manufacturers of generic medicines. Its products, which treat for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and depression, are distributed widely through pharmacies and the NHS.
The big step forward for the company, explains TR, was the opportunity to buy a failing manufacturing facility in 2004. “At the time, pharmaceutical manufacturing was going to India and China,” he explains, “and the facility employed 50 people and was loss-making.” He embarked on a programme of expansion and automation.
Fast forward to today: more than 250 people work at the Luton factory. A “well-trained” workforce receives extensive in-house training. “We never compromise on quality,” TR says. He takes his responsibilities as the founder and CEO very seriously. “There are more than 200 families depending upon this business, so we must build their skills, create new jobs, and help to build them as leaders. That’s our responsibility.”
He has ambitious plans for Bristol Laboratories. The company is boosting its own R&D efforts. It plans to build new manufacturing facilities in the UK. And it plans to export to other EU countries, to Africa, Asia and the USA.
“I’m a visionary, not an operations guy,” says TR, “so I must have a dedicated and expert team to deliver my vision.”
As a business that is constantly recruiting, Bristol Laboratories is a regular user of the services of Jobcentre Plus.