HUNDREDS of jobs are on the way after a pharmaceutical firm announced plans to expand into the region.
Bristol Laboratories, which has bases in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, plans to create 300 jobs over the next five years as it takes over the former Reckitt Benckiser household cleaner products plant on Peterlee’s Whitehouse Business Park.
The firm, which was established in 1997, already has a 320-strong operation which turned over more than £78m in the year ending June 2013.
The news of the move, which will create well-paid and highly-skilled jobs, comes hot on the heels of another recent jobs boost as neighbouring firm on the business park, AMA Group, which has brought clothing manufacturing back to East Durham, aims to recruit 150 workers between now and the end of 2015.
Bristol Laboratories manufactures generic products such as paracetamol. The move will see the firm almost double in size.
The company is creating a research and development department at Peterlee, as well as its manufacturing arm.
A Bristol Laboratories spokesman said: “Recruitment is underway and it is expected to create more than 300 jobs over the next five years, boosting the local economy.
“The plans are progressing on schedule and commercial operations are expected to commence by end of the year.”
Dr Simon Goon, managing director for Business Durham, Durham County Council’s business section, said: “This is fantastic news for Peterlee and a ringing endorsement of the importance of manufacturing in County Durham.
“Durham County Council and Business Durham have worked extremely hard to support Bristol Laboratories in this investment and we are delighted to welcome them here, another impressive name to add to our roster of world-class companies.”
Reckitt Benckiser announced in 2011 that 321 employees would lose their jobs when the factory closed in 2014.