Medical research company Covance has announced plans to invest in its Harrogate site by refurbishing a new 10,000sq ft laboratory.
The group’s base, at Beckwith Knowle, has long been the site of demonstrations because of its medical testing with animals.
It has now revealed plans to expand into vacant units and, with a £575,000 grant from the Leeds City Region, branch into new research in nutritional chemistry and contaminants testing.
Covance says it has been a leader in such research in America for more than 80 years, testing in the food, dietary supplement, infant formula and pet food industries.
“We are excited to bring this tradition of excellence to Europe,” said Covance’s Brad Riemenapp.
“In Harrogate we will conduct cutting-edge research in food contaminants testing and the full spectrum of nutritional chemistry.”
Harrogate was the ideal location, a statement from Covance said, because of its proximity to Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBIA) and the convenient access to European markets.
There was also a strong pool of talent locally, it said, adding that 25 new jobs would be created in the first year with up to 100 over the next five years.
“We are now starting to hire staff,” said a spokesman, confirming that any new nutritional research to be carried out at the Harrogate site will not involve any animal testing.
“We do expect, by the end of the year, to be up and running but it’s an ongoing process.”
Covance, with headquarters in New Jersey, is one of the world’s largest drug development companies with annual revenues greater than $2.2 billion.
A grant of £575,000 from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Programme, made possible through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, means that Covance can soon begin “exciting” new research in contaminants testing.
“Covance is not only a global leader in its field but also a major employer in the Leeds City Region,” said Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
“This investment aims to boost the number of jobs and skills the company can offer local people.
“The expertise and intelligence behind this new research into nutritional health and food testing puts the Leeds City Region on the map and enhances our reputation as a great place to do business.”