A NORTH-East based pharmaceutical company is investing £3m in a new facility in the south of England.

Aesica, based in Newcastle, is building the new facility at its site in Queenborough, Kent, to tap into the growing market for the contract manufacture of potent drugs.

It is estimated that the facility will be completed by May next year.

The firms commercial director Adam Sims said: "As we continue to consolidate and broaden our service proposition, the addition of the high containment facility has enabled us to add yet another dimension to our offer.

"The evolution of drug development and the use of more potent compounds has made high containment drug manufacturing a key focus for customers outsourcing their products."

Aesica was founded in 2004 and has since more than trebled in size, from having a single site in the North East to four nationally and global offices in New York, San Diego and Shanghai.

Over the last five years the company has increased turnover from £25M to approximately £100M and currently employs 750 people.