A healthcare firm which bounced back after being hit by the Boxing Day floods of 2015 is playing a significant role in halting the global spread of deadly diseases.
GAMA Healthcare, a world leader in the manufacture and development of infection control products for the healthcare sector, has opened a £4m research centre in Halifax.
The £40m turnover company has named the new centre after Adrian Fellows, its long serving research and development director.
The company, which was founded by two medical doctors in 2004, suffered a major blow when its first laboratory in Sowerby Bridge was destroyed in the 2015 floods.
However, the firm’s new research centre in Greetland, Halifax, is now up and running and tackling one of the biggest problems facing global healthcare professionals.
It also has bases in Australia and China to support its global expansion.
Mr Fellows said the company planned to grow the research centre.
“We’ve got a payroll of about 16 and we plan to grow that to at least 35," he said.
“We have a very active research programme at the moment, particularly in the area of replacement of antibiotics or novel therapies to replace antibiotics which has been identified as the key problem facing the world in the healthcare sphere.
“It’s one of the main focuses for our research in Halifax,’’ he added. “The rate of micro-organisms and bacteria developing a resistance to antibiotics is such that there are predictions that we may run out in 15 years.
“A lot of things that are taken for granted now, like cancer treatments and heart surgery, hip and knee replacements..these will all become quite impossible.
“At the worst extreme, we could get back to the situation we had in the pre-antibiotic era, where you got a scratch in the garden..and that could prove terminal.
“There is a race on,’’ said Mr Fellows, “Can we develop new antibiotics or alternatives to antibiotics before the bacteria win the race?
“There are TB strains around the world that are resistant to most of the antibiotics that are used for treating TB. Infections you consider minor or treatable will no longer be treatable.
“That’s why this has been identified as the largest problem facing mankind in the healthcare sector.
“It’s on a parallel with global warming and climate change,’’ he said. “We also have a very strong focus on other aspects of infection control. Hospital infection control can also make a huge contribution to stopping or slowing the spread of resistant organisms. It’s a much less expensive route than developing a new antibiotic.”
GAMA has offices in London, Halifax, Melbourne, Shunde, Beijing and Chengdu and employs around 180 people worldwide.
GAMA Healthcare has a growing research and development and new product development department in Halifax.
Until this year, the research and development team was run by Adrian Fellows, who has been involved in the non woven - or wipes - industry since the 1970s. He remains as a non-executive director of the firm.
Mr Fellows said that GAMA’s products were acknowledged as best in class.
“There is hardly a hospital that doesn’t have one or other of our products. We export to 50 countries worldwide.”