It's the first day today at Neem's new premises where there are no contractors on site. The last arrangements to be followed up from last week's inauguration
festivities are almost completed and we can almost start to settle into a working routine. This is a natural point for reflection on what has been and to look forward to what is yet to come.
Light, large, very clean and pristine. Those were the adjectives that were heard often whilst guests were taken on a guided tour of Neem Biotech's new pre-clinical research facility in Abertillery last Thursday. The atmosphere would have been well described as bubbly, and not only with reference to the sparkling drink in the fluted glasses at the back of the room.
Last Thursday saw Neem Biotech welcome 35 guests and 13 staff members to its new home in Abertillery to inaugurate its new plant at the Roseheyworth Business Park site.
Guests included leaders from the Welsh Life Sciences industry, various members of local government, academic and commercial project collaborators and media representatives.
The Minister of Economy, Sciences and Transport presided over the formalities and congratulated Neem Biotech on its expansion plans as a way of furthering both the local economy in the Sirhowy Valley and the Life Sciences industry more broadly. She said:
"You have gone from 8 people to 18 people and will be going to 25 people. This indicates the importance of this facility that you have."
This mirrors Neem's view of its relocation as an opportunity to drive progress in the wider Life Sciences fields in which Neem finds itself, to contribute to its local economic environment and for the benefit of its own pipeline.
Of the functionality of the new facility, Dr. Michael Graz, MD of Neem Biotech said:" We can seamlessly go from an idea that can be tested out in the laboratory to creation of small scale extracts within our facility. That is unique in Life Sciences".
He continued with: "We're very fortunate in Wales to have the ecosystem that has been created in the Life Sciences". Thomas Hafner, CEO and Founder of Zaluvida, Neem's parent company, echoed this and said: "We're very touched by the nourishing infrastructure that we've found in the government's support for Neem and the skills of the people here".
After a whirlwind couple of hours accompanied by much laughter and discussion over canapes and champagne, Neem's new premises had been inaugurated. Now the work begins.
This custom-designed building represents not only a geographical location, but is also a concrete symbol of Neem's new foray into pre-clinical drug development. Last Thursday was the first tangible step on the road towards making this ambition a reality.
On Thursday 11 June Neem Biotech crossed the metaphoric threshold from old to new; from a primary focus on contract research to its new focus on pipeline development with a secondary focus on contract research.
With continued support from the Welsh Government and Zaluvida, and the combined efforts of a committed team who are willing and able to work hard towards a common goal, Neem can look forward to increasing the momentum in the direction of pre-clinical pipeline development and later full scale drug development.