Belfast Telegraph

Fifty jobs at risk as drug trial firm goes into administration

By Margaret Canning

Around 50 jobs are at risk after a Belfast drug trial company went into administration, blaming the cancellation of clinical projects.

Bio-Kinetic Europe employed around 50 people from its base in Great Victoria Street, carrying out trials into treatments for conditions such as asthma, arthritis and diabetes.

But yesterday, insolvency specialist HNH Group announced it had been appointed administrators to the company.

According to Companies House, economic development agency Invest NI took out a fixed charge over the company in April this year.

However, subsidiary Bio-Kinetic Healthcare Ltd is still trading - and a HNH spokeswoman said it's unaffected by the administration.

James Neill, managing director of HNH, said it would be communicating with employees, suppliers and customers of Bio-Kinetic Europe.

He said: "The late cancellation of a number of key clinical trial projects, for reasons beyond the control of management, has resulted in significant working capital pressures within the business.

"The directors have subsequently had to make the difficult decision to place the company into administration."

A spokeswoman said the company "had been at the forefront of early phase drug development for over 20 years".

It was set up in 1996 and previously known as Mullaghbawn Ltd. Its directors are Crawford Maclean and Dr David Bell.

In 2008, the company secured major contracts from big pharmaceutical companies at its clinic in Belfast.

It also took part in Invest NI trade missions to the US and other markets.

It succeeded in growing its business in the US from 13% to more than a third of turnover, Invest NI said at the time.

In 2015, the company also announced it was creating 19 new jobs, including nurses, clinic assistants, data and recruitment specialists as well as business development staff.

It said it was working for new and repeat clients in the UK, Europe and Asia.

The company was also taking part in a European Commission project - for which it received a £1.1m grant - to research a vaccine to help reduce resistance to antibiotics.

Belfast Telegraph

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