AUSTRALIA’S largest privately-owned dermatological skincare company has opened its UK headquarters on Regent Street in Knutsford.

Ego Pharmaceuticals presence in the north west has seen the creation of 17 jobs, which is set to rise to 40 within three years.

The move forms part of a wider global expansion strategy arising from the Melbourne-based company’s average annual sales growth rate of 11 per cent in the past 10 years and the doubling of its workforce in five years.

The move into Knutsford has been welcomed by Cheshire East Council, and the two organisations have been working closely on the development of a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out a package of business support to underpin the family-owned pharmaceutical company’s growth in the UK.

Alan Oppenheim, managing director of Ego Pharmaceuticals, said: “This announcement signals a renewed and substantial investment in the UK, and represents a strong, positive step forward for trade relations between Australia and the UK.

“Cheshire proved the perfect place for us to set up home. It is an important part of the Northern Powerhouse, and Knutsford presents numerous connectivity benefits with its proximity to the motorway network and efficient access to the whole of the UK.

“We are also pleased to have the strong support of Cheshire East Council, with which we are working to help underpin our long-term sustainability and contribution to the regional economy.”

Cllr Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “Cheshire East Council is delighted to learn that Ego Pharmaceuticals has chosen to establish its new UK base here in the borough.

“This is a major international pharmaceutical company spanning 32 countries, and their portfolio will now include Knutsford, where, we understand, up to 40 sales and admin jobs could be created initially as part of a £4 million investment programme.

“Cheshire East is already home to a tremendous life sciences sector, and the arrival of Ego to the borough will boost this immensely.”

Frank Jordan, Cheshire East Council deputy chief executive and executive director place, said: “We are delighted to have assisted Ego with finding a suitable office location in the borough and continue to support them with recruitment and training programmes.

“This is excellent news at a time when the whole country is facing a huge economic challenge in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. This demonstrates that the borough is open for business and continues to attract world-leading companies.”