A HEALTHCARE manufacturing company has cut the first turf of its new HQ at Stonehouse Park symbolising the start of construction for a new purpose-built premises.

Sartorius Stedim Biotech is an international company providing equipment and services for the development, quality assurance and production processes of the biopharmaceutical industry.

Vice president of the company’s German parent company, Uwe Becker, said: “It’s an honour to be here today and to get the chance to create a new plant in Stonehouse. It demonstrates our faith in the team here.”

“We’re very happy and excited to be building a new Sartorius plant from scratch and that we will own it. This is a long-term investment both for our product and for Stonehouse.

“It’s a vote of confidence in the location and the team. We’re looking forward to designing and developing the new plant together.”

The current 87-strong workforce is set to grow to 150 by 2022, with further expansion envisaged thereafter in a multi-million pound two-phase investment.

The 85,000 sq ft building is being developed for the company by Robert Hitchins Ltd.

A planning application for the new 85,000 sq ft HQ was recently approved by Stroud District Council.

The Stonehouse operation grew out of a business which Chris Biddell, an engineering graduate, began in his uncle’s garage in Oakridge 20 years ago.

Initially called Vivascience, it became part of German giant Sartorius Stedim in 1999.

Globally the company employs 6,000 people and has a turnover of almost 1bn Euros.