North East Cluster

The longstanding and globally successful pharmaceutical manufacturing cluster anchored in the North East is thriving and is primed for further growth.

Learn More


Its story of success and the current economic and strategic value of the sector to the region was captured in the 2018 report: Profile and importance of the North East pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.

Covid-19 has been a key driver to further growth, and the sector has already made a contribution to the national response to the concerns about the security of supply of pharmaceutical products to the NHS. As a result, it is one of very few sectors in the region that has shown sustained growth during the current economic downturn.

Looking forward, changes in markets for drugs and treatments, new technologies and transformation of production processes, and opportunities to repatriate pharmaceutical manufacture to the UK to ensure security of pharma supply chains are all Government priorities that the North East cluster is well placed to respond to and benefit from.

These aims are strongly aligned with the aims of the UK Industrial Strategy and the North East Strategic Economic Plan to foster growth in key sectors and to foster growth in less well-off regions of the UK and to level up the national economy.

For a decade or more, senior pharmaceutical sector leaders have supported and participated in First for Pharma, a North East business leaders’ network which aims to bring together the sector in the region. Pharma North East will build on and broaden this work to enhance the visibility of the sector regionally, nationally and internationally and strengthen our work with other partners.

North East Cluster

The North East of England has a long and strong heritage of pharmaceutical manufacturing, capability and expertise.

Significant facilities were established in the 1960s and 1970s by UK and American owned parent companies in response to the sector growth in innovative medicines and the favourable environment in the UK for manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products. 

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and in formulation and packaging, primarily for UK markets. This established the North East as one of three major areas for pharmaceuticals manufacturing in UK together with the Home Counties and the North West of England.

These facilities grew in capability and performance and were able to adapt to the needs of global customers as the first of several phases of globalisation, expansion and then consolidation took place in the pharmaceutical industry with added manufacturing capacity in tax advantageous countries and emerging markets.

The continuing evolution of the market and the development of blockbuster products enabled these facilities to hone their performance in terms of quality cost and reliability of supply. They contributed powerfully to UK economy, adding significantly to the UK’s balance of payments and enhancing the UK’s reputation in regulatory compliance and manufacturing process development, where it operates consistently at a very competitive global level.

Learn More

There are 15 pharmaceutical manufacturers in the North East of England sector including a diverse range of scale, business models, ownership arrangements and relationship structures with the regional and UK economy.

Internationally Owned Sites

Five pharmaceutical manufacturing sites in the North East are internationally owned. Owners include US, Japanese and Indian companies and individuals.

GVA Contribution

In 2018, overall direct, indirect and induced GVA contribution to the UK by the regional sector surveyed is estimated to be between £0.73 billion and £1.28 billion.

Product Export

Pharmaceutical manufacturing sites in the sector export an average of 86% of their products with 64% of exports going to the United States.

Prospectus for Partners

View and Download Our Prospectus PDF
View PDF


Learn about North East Pharma and its directors and leadership group
Learn More


Keep up to date with the current pharmaceutical manufacturing projects
Learn More


Partners working towards a ten-year growth strategy for the sector
Learn More