Seqens hand sanitiser is custom-made for local NHS heroes

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Alastair Lloyd and Brian Blades with a truck load of hand sanitiser made at the Seqens site in Middlesbrough. Picture by Tom Banks
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Made on Teesside for Teesside heroes. Middlesbrough firm Seqens Custom Specialties has supplied the equivalent of 16,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to support key workers at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in their fight against Covid-19.

The company – still affectionately known locally by its former name of Chemoxy International – delivered 8,000 kilos of the product to The James Cook University Hospital.

The sanitiser is already being put to good use on the hospital wards including those dedicated to coronavirus patients.

The Trust is also coordinating a wider distribution of material to local care homes, GP surgeries and hospices who have also been struggling to locate adequate quantities of Hand Sanitisers.

Seqens produced the sanitiser to World Health Organisation guidelines at its Billingham plant and packaged the sanitiser at its Middlesbrough facility which is close to Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium.

The sanitiser had been made in small amounts in the firm’s research and development laboratory to provide protection to staff and site visitors but the firm has been able to produce much larger quantities on its main plant.

The firm took a product called Isopropanol (IPA) from its parent company’s plant and converted it into hand sanitiser for use in the UK.

Alastair Lloyd, Seqens’ commercial director, said: “James Cook University Hospital is practically on our doorstep so the decision to help locally was an easy one.

“This is a product made on Teesside for Teesside. We couldn’t be prouder to be helping our local heroes in the NHS.”

The Health and Safety Executive granted the firm temporary permission to produce the strictly controlled formulation of hand sanitiser to assist in the Covid-19 response.

“The material was filled into 10-litre kegs to assist the hospital staff to distribute it more easily,” said Brian Blades, who supervised the packing team. “We are a bulk chemical supplier normally so this was a challenge to arrange but there was no shortage of volunteers to fill off smaller kegs.

“The whole site team embraced this project and we completed it quickly, while following our usual high safety standards” said Alastair, “Special thanks also to LV Shipping who donated a wagon for the deliveries to James Cook University Hospital”

Helen Day, deputy director of nursing and deputy director of prevention and control for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s great to get such amazing support from the local community.

“This hand sanitiser delivery will benefit not just our hospitals and community services, but organisations right across the Tees Valley.”

Chemoxy, which has been based on Teesside for more than 150 years, employs 160 staff on two sites manufacturing products which touch the everyday lives of people across the world, from cosmetics to oil extraction, and from petrol additives to environmentally friendly paint solvents.

Chemoxy’s French owners Seqens are also highly involved in Europe’s Covid-19 response as a leading manufacturer of IPA, Aspirin and Paracetamol and is also leading research into anti-virals from its contract research business sector.

CEO Pierre Luzeau said: “We contribute to the development of treatment against Covid-19, we ensure the supply of drugs and key health products, we provide the vast majority of the exceptional production of hydroalcoholic solutions in France.

“In these difficult times, I am particularly proud of the solidarity and perseverance of everyone, which I have witnessed on the ground.

“Together, we will overcome this ordeal. It is in these moments that we can be proud of our contribution, however modest, to the world around us, to our friends and loved ones.”