Contamac

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Contamac's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Contamac is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.contamac.com

25CONTAMAC |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Rob McGregor,
managingdirector
Contamac’s Saffron Walden HQ
proudly bears evidence of its two
Queen’s Awards for Enterprise
Essex-based Contamac transformed how contact and
intraocular lens materials were produced on its way to
becoming a niche market leader. Today, it is using that same
“never say never” attitude to manufacture a new generation of
active, implantable medical devices.
Success, implanted
A good test of a company’s pedigree is whether it passes the “dinner party test”
(sometimes also known as the “pub test”): that is, easy to describe in a few words,
with each new statement no less impressive than the last. An example of this might
be as follows.
Contamac makes the materials from which speciality contact and intraocular lenses
are made. As such, it has helped improve and restore the sight of millions of people
worldwide. It has also assisted diabetes sufferers by partnering in the development
of an implantable continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system not much bigger
than a grain of rice. It’s one of the world’s leading specialists in the research,
development, manufacture and marketing of biocompatible polymers. Itsells to
over 65 countries, is a two-time Queen’s Award for Enterprise winner, and was
started 31 years ago in a garden shed.
Although Contamac’s story began with contact and intraocular lens materials (and
they remain the products for which it is best known), for decades now it has also
been quietly honing its expertise in synthetic and polymer chemistry for a broad
range of biomedical and other applications.
Today, Contamac offers clients what is effectively an all-encompassing R&D,
manufacturing, marketing and fulfilment facility focusing on biocompatible polymer
FACTS ABOUT
CONTAMAC
»Managing director:
RobMcGregor
»Founded in 1987
by JohnMcGregor OBE
and three friends
»Based in Saffron Walden, Essex,
with offices in Colorado and
Shanghai
»Services: World-leading
specialist contact lens
materials manufacture
»No. of employees: 93
»Turnover: £16 million
»Pioneer in the development
and manufacture of active
implantable medical devices
»Two-time Queen’s Award for
Enterprise winner
»Sold major shareholding in
2017 to Haohai Biological
Technology Co Ltd of PRC
Contamac
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | CONTAMAC
» AREAS OF
EXPERTISE
»Active implantable
medical devices
»Polymers for aiding
wound care
»Biocompatible polymers
»Coating and encasement
technologies
coatings and encapsulation. It is ISO
accredited and aware of regulation
– having sought and obtained FDA
approval for many products. With
offices in the UK, US and China, it is
also fully conversant with international
markets, and ideally placed to engage
with new ones.
A new way of doing things
“Manufacturing is in our DNA,” says
Contamac’s MD, Rob McGregor.
Innovation is plainly also in the
company’s DNA, as its first automated
lathes had to be built in-house; no
one else was making them at the
time. A string of R&D projects –
from a hydrogel dressing that heals
burns from the inside out, to a way
of improving quick-pour canned
drinks using polymer disks – evolved
into a burgeoning consultancy
business, and proof that there’s a
healthy entrepreneurial strand to
Contamac’sDNA, too.
Unusually, not all projects are
necessarily negotiated on a purely time
and materials basis.
Rob adds: “We’re hungry to find out
what else we can do, and we’re not
afraid to explore blue-sky technologies.
Sometimes we take on a new project
as a supplier. Sometimes we like to
invest. We’re at the cutting edge of
our industry, but we know we’ll only
stay there if we keep learning. We like
to be challenged.”
International links
It was possibly this attitude that led
to the Haohai Biological Technology
Co Ltd of Shanghai, the People’s
Republic of China, buying a significant
shareholding in Contamac last year.
Haohai is itself engaged in the research
and manufacture of absorbable
biomedical materials for use in a wide
variety of surgical applications, including
orthopaedics, ophthalmology and
medical aesthetics. A listed company,
Haohai sees as much potential in
European markets as Contamac sees
inthe Far East.
Rob’s team has worked hard to raise
Contamac’s profile globally, but he’s
quick to praise the role the Department
for International Trade has played
in helping the business to expand
overseas. It now exports to every
continent bar Antarctica, necessitating
a sales and marketing team fluent
in nearly a dozen languages and
capable of speaking to clients in
practically every world time zone.
In2012, Contamac received a Queen’s
Award for Enterprise for International
Trade. A similar award for innovation
followed in 2016, while earlier this
year chairman and founder John
McGregor received an OBE for services
to international trade and innovation
inpolymer technology.
State-of-the-art facility
Located at the centre of an otherwise
unprepossessing trading estate within
the pretty market town of Saffron
Walden, near Cambridge, Contamac’s
headquarters never fails to surprise
Cutting-edge material
science is underpinned
by a unique fusion of
“traditional” precision
engineering with state-
of-the-art technology
Unusually, not
all projects are
negotiated on
a time and
materials basis
27CONTAMAC |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
the steady stream of foreign visitors
who’ve passed through its doors since
they opened in 2015. Built on three
levels (although only two are visible
from the front), the 35,000-square-
feet facility includes research and
testing laboratories, a 3,500-square-
feet ISO7 (Class 10,000) clean room,
a state-of-the-art manufacturing
plant, a despatch warehouse, a fully
functioning contact lens fitting facility,
and modern offices and presentation
suites. A further 14,000 square feet,
including 6,000 square feet of clean
rooms, is due on stream by the end
ofthis year.
Saffron Walden itself falls within the
Oxford-Cambridge high-tech corridor.
Just an hour from central London by
train, it enjoys excellent road transport
links (M11, A11, A1) and is a short
distance from London Stansted Airport.
Raising standards
througheducation
As part of its aspiration to continuously
raise standards, both within its own
organisation and its industry sector,
Contamac has a long track record
of collaborating with academics,
educational establishments and
professional bodies. It’s active in
developing educational materials,
writing articles, participating in
forums and promoting best practice.
The company also regularly hosts
round-table discussions with leading
industryfigures.
Contamac has close ties with many
leading international universities,
andoften advises PhD students.
Earlierthis year it launched
SpecialitySight.com, a practical guide
to common eye conditions and their
treatments, with separate streams for
both practitioners and end users.
Summary
Rob is keen for his team of specialists
to maximise their potential by
partnering with similar pioneers in the
healthcare and medical device sectors
to develop new polymer technologies
and uses.
“Implantable biocompatible polymers
are our unique area of expertise.” He
smiles, before adding: “You might say
we’ve got this polymer business under
our skin.”
Contamac has
close ties with
leading
universities, and
often advises
PhD students
» CASE STUDY: EVERSENSE CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE
MONITORING SYSTEM
The Eversense CGM System is a new way to continuously monitor glucose
levels in adult diabetes sufferers. Conceived by Washington DC-based
Senseonics, it uses a sensor implanted subcutaneously in the upper arm.
Contamac worked closely with Senseonics over an 18-year period to help
perfect a patented, fluorescent, glucose-indicating polymer technology that
measures glucose in the interstitial fluid. This data is then relayed to a smart
transmitter. Contamac remains a critical supplier, responsible for encapsulating
the sensor prior to it being sterilised.
Contamac invests in a
broad range of education
programmes aimed at
both professionals
and the public
Senseonics’ continuous
glucose monitoring
device encapsulated by
Contamac

www.contamac.com

This article was sponsored by Contamac. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister