A MAJOR international medical testing company has nearly doubled the size of its European hub after formally opening a new larger base in York.

US directors of ACM Global flew in to watch the Mayor of York, Coun Keith Hyman, cut a ribbon at the purpose-built laboratory block in Hospital Fields Road yesterday.

The 14,500 sq ft building project dwarfs the firm’s previous headquarters in Aviator Court, Clifton Moor, set up in 1999 and from which 70 people have now moved. A further five jobs have been added and growth projections are that at least five more will be recruited annually over the next five years.

The move represents an investment of more than £1 million on the part of parent company, ACM Medical Laboratory Incorporated, and confirms its faith in York as the pivot of European scientific activity, it said.

Jerry Boxall, managing director in charge of European operations, who has been with the company since it opened in 1999, said: “The pressure of work became increasingly challenging at Clifton Moor.

“It was clear that we had outgrown that facility and so we set about researching ways of tailoring a building to our very exacting needs.

“It took 15 months until now to carry out the project, and huge care was taken to ensure no disruption to our ongoing services.”

At the opening, he praised the staff in helping to make the transition a success.

He said: “We have very delicate instruments which needed careful planning for how they would be moved and to ensure they would operate properly once reinstalled, with backup plans in case they didn’t.”

The extra space was needed to cope with growing demand for ACM Global’s clinical trials testing services throughout both western and eastern Europe, as well as South Africa and the Middle East.

Angela J Panzarella, president of the parent company, who flew in for the opening from her US base in Rochester, New York, said her organisation had a turnover of more than $100 million.

“The strong growth has been driven by our European operations which have more than doubled over the past two years.”

The investment is an “act of faith in the world economic climate”, she said.

“The new facility represents our commitment to the region and to continuous improvement in the services we offer our clients.”

The opening was attended by existing and prospective clients, who were taken on tours of the facility and also attended a workshop and evening reception.