Argenta, the New Zealand company dedicated to the creation, development and manufacture of products for the health of animals, is celebrating its 10th birthday this year.
Originally a small, South Auckland-based contract research company, Argenta is now a highly innovative and profitable international business with four locations in the US and New Zealand and 300 staff globally.
Argenta was borne out of a vision to create a company that could both invent, research and manufacture products for the global animal health industry – something that no other company was doing at the time. This specialty remains unique 10 years on.
“It’s quite unusual for a New Zealand company to find themselves in the position that Argenta finds itself in on its 10-year anniversary – it’s exciting and humbling, plus its pretty good going given there was a global financial crisis thrown in the mix,” says Argenta co-founder and managing director, Dr Doug Cleverly, who is based in Argenta’s South Auckland headquarters.
“We have matured as a company and are now being sought after by large American multinationals for both our research and manufacturing services, as well as for our intellectual property, which is pretty neat.
“We have several IP license deals in play that increase the Mana of the business,” he says.
Earlier this year, the company opened a new, 13,500-square-metre manufacturing facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa, to complement its New Zealand operations and support continued growth in the US. The acquisition followed the company’s opening of a drug product research laboratory in the world-renowned science precinct of Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas City in 2011, and the purchase of a New Jersey-based clinical contract research subsidiary, AlcheraBio, in 2008.
“Our latest expansion into the US has unleashed an unprecedented interest in our business, which is benefitting our American divisions, as well as bringing significantly more research business to New Zealand,” says Cleverly.
He says a key contributor to the company’s success story has been attracting a dedicated team of highly-skilled experts who are driven to excel.
“Argenta is a story of a collective vision to create exceptional products and do the right things by our clients. We take on projects that on the face of it are impossible, but we go out and do it. It’s a thinking and a culture that we strive to embrace as the company continues to grow”.
The engine behind Argenta’s growth and expansion has been research and innovation. Creating its own revenue streams, both in research, and subsequently in manufacturing, have a natural link to the company’s ability to innovate.
Cleverly comments: “Innovation has been a constant thread in the company’s development and we have invested heavily in this area, about $2 million per year, in particular over the past three or four years. It’s quite a commitment, but we believe it is important for sustainable growth and also one of the key reasons why clients want to talk to us.
“Like any investment into the unknown, innovation is a mix of trepidation and excitement. We find ourselves able to innovate with the world’s best but the leap into the research abyss is not taken without some anxiety,” he says.
Looking to the next 10 years, Argenta plans to focus on maximising investment in innovation, and to expand the business into the European market, and the Middle East or Asia.
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