Mid Wales life sciences company eyes expansion in Middle East

A life sciences company, which plays a crucial role in helping to diagnose and treat cancer around the world, has announced plans to expand in the Middle East as part of a wider strategy to grow the business, thanks to support from the Welsh Government.

Simon Owen, head of exports at CellPath with employee
Simon Owen, head of exports at CellPath with employee

Newtown-based CellPath, which specialises in the manufacture and supply of equipment and services used in cancer diagnostics, already exports to over 40 countries across Europe, America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East including the UAE, Qatar and Iraq.

The company has recently secured a number of key distribution agreements including a partnership with a large US-based equipment supplier, which will enable CellPath to expand the list of products it is able to offer and subsequently increase its sales.

It is now looking to double its export turnover in the Middle East and South Asia territory over the next two years – a key target market thanks to the region’s rapidly growing medical sector.

Reports by KPMG reveal healthcare expenditure in the UAE has grown from $60 billion in 2013 to $76 billion in 2019, and is expected to rise to a further $89 billion by the end of 2022 as government investments in the healthcare system and increasing levels of medical tourism to the region drive growth in the industry.

CellPath intends to develop its presence in the Middle East and South Asia by expanding its international distribution links and entering new territories including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan.

The company has just returned from the MEDLAB exhibition in Dubai where it has met potential new distribution partners in Pakistan and further strengthened its partnership with existing distribution partners in the Middle East.

Simon Owen, head of exports at CellPath, said: “Naturally we are continually looking for ways to grow the business and, with our export strategy currently accounting for a third of group turnover, placing a drive on international sales will be a key component to achieve this.

“We are already a market leader in the UK but our goal is to become a market leader globally with some of the key products we manufacture here in mid Wales. We plan to grow our exports by 20 per cent over the next year and expanding our distribution within the Middle East and South Asia will significantly help with realising this goal.

“The Middle East is a growing life sciences market, with lots of investments currently being made to hospitals and the medical sector in the region. We already have a fantastic distributor covering the area, but there is the opportunity for us to grow this partnership further as they cover several countries across the UAE that we do not currently export to. There is also the potential for us to secure additional distributors in other new target markets, which is very exciting.”

CellPath has boasted an international outlook since it was first established in 1990. Shortly after, the company began to attend its first international trade shows such as Medica – the world’s biggest medical trade show held in Dusseldorf – which allowed it to secure some of its first overseas clients, and trade shows have remained a priority for the business ever since.

Over the last five years, the company has placed a drive on international sales, during which time its exports have doubled to account for around a third of group turnover today. The firm has received support from the Welsh Government, accessed via Business Wales, during this time to attend a number of trade missions as well as visit new regions and conduct research into target markets.

Following increased demand for its products and services overseas, the company has invested over £2 million in a new international distribution warehouse and machinery at its Welsh headquarters to ensure it can meet orders. It has also hired an additional six people across its export and regulatory teams to ensure it remains compliant with local regulations in all countries.

Simon added: “With the type of products that we offer, it’s important that potential customers and distributors get to see them up close in person to truly appreciate them. Attending trade shows and conducting market visits is therefore an essential part of our export strategy.

“As well as allowing clients to see the quality of our products, face to face interactions are vital to establishing and maintaining relationships, as well as reinforcing our credibility as a business. We have been extremely lucky to have received plenty of support from the Welsh Government over the years to attend trade shows, research target markets, and identify potential new clients and suppliers that they have connected us with.

“This support has enabled us to secure a range of new business, helping us with our growth trajectory.”

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