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- 2022 International Trade
ApconiX was founded by Dr Richard Knight, Professor Ruth Roberts and Dr Michael Morton, ex-AstraZeneca colleagues with the drive and ambition to create a world-renowned drug safety company.
The journey began with the idea to provide life science companies with access to the full range of high quality drug safety expertise, normally available only in large pharmaceutical companies. In 2014 (pre-trading) the founders took this idea through the Alderley Park Biohub bootcamp, winning the award for most promising new business idea. In 2017, ApconiX won the Bionow Awards – Start-up company of the year.
In seven years of operation, ApconiX has grown to over 40 people, helping clients all over the world make better decisions on drug safety. ApconiX opened an office in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2019 and has associates based in Sweden, Germany, Canada and Israel.
A global market
Exporting is essential for ApconiX’s growth, as drug research and development is a truly global endeavour. In 2021, export revenue accounted for around 70% of turnover. ApconiX has a unique business model that has proved to be an attractive choice for clients all over the world who need access to experienced and credible drug safety scientists. This is true of companies of any size in any location.
Dr Richard Knight, Director and co-founder of ApconiX commented: “The Queen’s Award is the most prestigious recognition for UK business and is a tremendous achievement for such a young company. It is being awarded because of our sustained growth and continued success in exporting ApconiX services to a global client base.”
Three key elements
There are three key elements to the business: a consultancy group that advises clients on drug safety; a laboratory that screens new compounds for cardiac safety effects; and Acuity Target Safety Assessments that identify and evaluate potential safety concerns associated with a new therapeutic target.
Professor Ruth Roberts, Director and co-founder, commented: “Many drug safety failures are attributed to the drug target itself. Understanding this early on helps companies decide which drug targets to focus on, hopefully leading to a more rapid breakthrough in disease treatment.”
Today, the company’s laboratory uses the latest generation instrumentation to identify cardiac safety risks of new compounds. The laboratory has expanded to a wide range of assays, and also carries out novel research into seizure risk.
Dr Michael Morton, Director and co-founder, added: “Much of our laboratory work is driven by understanding and removing the potential for new drug compounds to cause unwanted side effects in the heart. We have for the past year and a half also been developing an assay that would evaluate the risk of a compound causing abnormal neuronal activity in the brain.”
ApconiX works with clients in more than 20 countries with principal markets being the US, Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland. Plans for the coming years include increasing presence in established bioscience markets and engaging with new clients in emerging markets such as China, southeast Asia and Australia.