A COMPANY, which has played a vital role in the fight against Covid-19, has received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

Absolute Antibody, based at the Wilton Centre, a WAPG site near Redcar, was told 14 months ago that it was being given the UK’s top business award in recognition of the rapid increase in its overseas sales over the previous three years.

The acknowledgement of the company’s exporting success was made before news emerged of its vital contribution to breakthroughs in the testing and treatment of Covid patients.

The presentation of the Queen’s Award was delayed because of the pandemic. It could not take place at Buckingham Palace and has now been held at the Wilton Centre.

Receiving the honour from the Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Johanna Ropner, Absolute Antibody’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr Catherine Bladen, said: “I’m very proud to say that we proved ourselves to be a valuable part of the supply chain and a small part of the incredible scientific response to Covid-19.”

“For one contract customer, we made one gram of two antibodies from a convalescent patient, and we prepared this in less than five weeks from sequencing that antibody.”

New customers emerged, such as diagnostic companies, who needed a regular supply of antibodies rather than just a one-off.

From May to August last year, for example, the main focus of Absolute Antibody’s laboratory team was to produce two grams per month of a Covid-19 antibody for an antibody test.

The company also provided antibodies for 100 pharmaceutical companies in more than 20 countries to support their work in finding solutions against the virus.

Around 80 per cent of its business comes from overseas sales and Dr Bladen told her guests exporting was extremely challenging.

Dr Bladen said: “You have to be the world’s best, or you have to offer something that nobody else offers.”

“Our company was created by scientists for scientists.”

Its products and services were designed to solve their problems, regardless of where they were in the world.

More than 600 other UK businesses applied for the 2020 award. Absolute Antibody and 215 others were successful.