Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a new weekly feature – online every Thursday – which highlights lesser known businesses that generally go under the radar. Here we introduce Woodley BioReg, a regulatory and quality consultancy to the global healthcare industry

Standing outside the refurbished mill building in Birkby, you’d hardly know that it’s the headquarters of a global business, with branches in China and South Korea. However, when you step into the open reception space, you’re immediately hit with the professional and orderly world of regulatory affairs.

The premises themselves house not only house the Woodley BioReg desk-based team across several offices, but also the warehouse and manufacturing facility, where the business is the only regulatory affairs consultancy in the UK to hold a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certificate – held since 2015. 

WBR, now entering its 21st year of operations, has had an extremely busy 12 months as the Covid-19 pandemic has put the life sciences industry in the spotlight. 

Consultants in the business have helped the response effort, working on a range of projects – including the registration and approved use of innovative new types of PPE – and assisting clients in taking part in the ventilator challenge, where the Government called out to innovators to create emergency medical devices to support the respiratory systems of patients.

But, what do they really do? Dr Ash Ramzan, founder and principal consultant at Woodley BioReg, said: “We assist drug and medical device developers to manage their projects, and get that all-important approval from regulatory bodies and health boards at the end.

“Although we specialise in biopharmaceuticals, including vaccines, we offer a range of services to our clients that are manufacturing pharmaceuticals across the globe. 

“The fun part really is the challenge of a new project, and how we help companies to put the processes and checks in place to accelerate their development, from discovery and clinical trials, to final approval stage — and beyond.”

Ash himself is no stranger to complex cases. As a fellow of TOPRA — and sitting on its editorial board — and a member of the British Pharmacopoeia Working Party, he and other members of the WBR team provide guidance to the Government on the regulation surrounding biologics.

And, Woodley BioReg’s experts are called upon regularly by health boards worldwide – think the FDA in the USA, and the MHRA in the UK – to give evidence on their behalf in cases of falsified medicines. 

Despite its international credentials, Woodley BioReg is a Yorkshire business through and through. Ash, born and bred in Huddersfield, said: “Our town is a fantastic place, and well-positioned between the cities of Leeds and Manchester, as well as Sheffield, to be a hub of the life sciences industry in the North.

“As a business, it’s our mission in the coming years to demonstrate to the public and the Government how vital the life sciences industry is, in terms of protecting public health and generally in defense of the nation. 

“We’re setting up several initiatives, including giving talks to young people in schools and colleges, to highlight a career in the industry, and offering services free-of-charge to start-ups with innovative ideas or products in the healthcare sector.”

Often flying under the radar in its locality, Woodley BioReg is a gem of a Huddersfield company, and evidence of the town’s thriving international business community.