Science business will stay loyal to city that has given support
Export sales have been a part of the Knight Scientific's business model since it was founded in 1990.
Now selling to 30 countries, with 118 customers spread across countries including Japan, Australia, Germany and America, international trade makes up around a third of the company's turnover.
Based in Plymouth with five employees, Knight Scientific is the world's only manufacturer of Pholasin, a protein derived from marine molluscs which reacts with molecules called free radicals which are a factor in some medical problems. The result is that Knight Scientific's Analysis By Emitted Light (ABEL) kits can be used to measure antioxidant capacity, which can counter the cellular damage caused by free radicals.
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In total, Knight Scientific for a range of markets including health and beauty, cosmetics and high performance sports that has seen the firm work with Olympic rowers, elite cyclists and Premier League football clubs.
The business was set up by Dr Jan Knight and her husband, Robert, and has worked with organisations including Derriford Hospital, Plymouth City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, UKTI, the Tamar Science Park and the South West Regional Development Agency.
"As a small company, you can get a lot of help. We were very fortunate to start off with to get support from the DTI and we have never looked back. You're not alone – there are lots of people who will lend a helping hand," she said.
And this help has meant that, despite some offers to relocate, Dr Knight has a strong sense of loyalty to Plymouth despite some drawbacks in the city's far South West location.
"We're always saying to people to come here and they sometimes say 'why aren't you based in the South East or in Oxford or Cambridge?' They have a lot of money there but sometimes this environment is the right place for really exciting science ideas – we're very successful here and I think that if you have been helped it's your duty to try and grow your company here."