Meet V:Kit at Alderley Park
5 minutes with Neil Gowans, Managing Director, V:Kit
What does V:Kit do?
At V:Kit, we are dedicated to developing and providing world leading resources for analytical instrument qualification (AIQ). We develop products, principally for chromatography (HPLC/UPLC, &GC) and spectroscopy (LCMS, ICP & UV-Vis) applications. Our products include software, IQ/OQ/PQ protocols, test and measurement devices, and certified chemical standards. We launched the first V:KIT software platform in 2002.
Its creation was driven by our own experience in service delivery - recognising the need for a more efficient, consistent, and cost-effective way of qualifying instruments. V:KIT has grown to become the world's leading independent IQ/OQ/PQ system. We now provide products and services to a comprehensive range of clients including global pharma, generic manufacturers, OEMs and multi-vendor service providers worldwide.
Tell us a little about your history and story so far...
Prior to launching the first V:KIT software platform, we go back to 1996 where (as NLG Analytical) we forged a reputation as a quality led, laboratory service organisation, providing maintenance and qualification services for chromatography and spectroscopy via our Labserv brand. Following the sale of Labserv in 2012, and endorsed by the change of name, we now focus solely on developing the V:KIT range of software, reference standards, tools and procedures for AIQ.
We're really proud to be a family owned and family led business, which is unusual in our market. Both my sons - Tom and Dan - joined the company after they completed their respective Computing Science and Business degrees. My wife, Lesley, is Operations Manager and keeps us all in check!
2020 was a challenging year for all, but it’s great to see you expanding and joining the Alderley Park community. What have been your highlights?
We are fortunate in that our products are an essential part of providing regulatory compliance in pharma QC labs. So for us, 2020 was business as usual - without the holidays! It really highlighted the need for a break and time to slow down and I think that’s something everyone can take out of the pandemic. Some of the highlights included working with our customers such as Pfizer and GSK at their vaccines plant in Belgium. There is certainly plenty of demand for their output at present.
What are you most excited about moving into Glasshouse?
Lots of things! However, having operated from a generic business park for the past 14 years, the networking and opportunity aspect is a huge part of why we have moved. We are looking forward to working alongside like-minded innovators and entrepreneurial businesses and seeing what collaborations can flourish as we grow the business. Equally, the social aspect is really important for us.
As a small company, we’re looking forward to getting involved in events and socials. Plus both my sons are already loving working in a ‘cool’ office space! For myself and Lesley, it’s exciting as we’ve come a full circle - I started my working life working at ICI in 1985, and Lesley in 1988, in this very building (back then it was 10 separate buildings and the atrium was a garden) so it’s great to look back whilst also looking forward and seeing how far we have come as a company.
The convergence of science and tech is an exciting area with an ever increasing focus from industry and academia. What inspired you to get into a career in this area? Any tips for the next generation wanting to get into a similar field?
Science and tech are fun! We need to spread this message more. For me, I think young people should consider if they find solving problems stimulating - if they do, then they may well flourish in a career in science.
What’s next in 2021 for V:Kit?
The next chapter for us is really exciting. Alongside our hopes to grow the team based in Glasshouse, we are also setting up a VKIT subsidiary in the USA as we move away from using distributors and have a presence in-country. The majority of our business is international so it’s about time we had a presence outside of the UK. We’re also looking forward to spending more time in Glasshouse and meeting our new neighbours. I genuinely believe something good will happen for us by being based in Glasshouse. I don't know what yet, but I can feel it!