About us

A history of spray drying and CDMO support

Why work with us

Upperton is a specialist pharmaceutical CDMO that can, within days of initial contact, start feasibility studies with only a few milligrams of a client’s drug candidate. We offer our clients a complete development package, across all dry powder dosage forms: powders, capsules, tablets, devices for nasal and pulmonary delivery.  With experience of working on a range of dosage forms and the expertise to develop the most challenging molecules. From the beginning, our clients will talk to an expert scientific team, who will manage projects with a science-led approach.

What we do

Upperton Pharma Solutions is a specialist CDMO providing formulation and dosage form development services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. We offer our clients a complete development service, from early feasibility studies to process optimisation, scale up and clinical trial (GMP / IMP) manufacturing.

We are able to enhance the performance and delivery of our client’s products by utilising an extensive range of formulation technologies. In particular we are one of the world leaders on expertise and know-how in pharmaceutical spray dryings; probably the most versatile and fastest growing technology in the industry.

We have experience of working with a range of dosage forms and the expertise to develop the most challenging of molecules. Our formulation work is complemented by a comprehensive range of analytical services for product testing and ICH stability studies.

Upperton has an extensive, multinational client-base, ranging from virtual and small start-ups to global pharma companies. We pride ourselves on our client-focused, flexible approach and scientific excellence.


Upperton Limited was founded in 1999 by Dr Richard Johnson. The company began life as a spray drying consultation service. In 2008, Upperton started working with external clients on various small spray drying projects; laying the foundation for Upperton’s R&D department.

The R&D department continued to grow organically, through company reinvestment. The team has now completed over 300 projects, several of which have now been launched as commercial products with many others in advanced stages of clinical development.

In November 2018, Upperton completed a successful MHRA inspection and subsequent grant of our MHRA license. This license allows us to manufacture IMP bulk powder and a range of dry powder dosage forms; supporting clinical trials up to Phase III. This marked a turning point in the company’s history, with transition from a CRO to a CDMO. A science-led approach remains at the heart of our R&D activities, whilst our clinical trial manufacturing capabilities enables us to support our clients all the way into the clinic.

Management Team

Nikki Whitfield
Chief Executive Officer

Nikki has 28 years’ technical and operational leadership experience gained in both Pharmaceutical Companies and Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisations. Working across a range of dosage forms with both small molecules and biologics, Nikki has successfully led simple and enabled drug development programmes from early phase pharmaceutical development through to late stage and pre-launch stages covering all aspects of the programmes including technical design, manufacturing, process scale-up, regulatory submission and clinical trial supply.

Nikki has previously held senior management and executive roles at a number of emerging biotech, large pharma and CDMOs, providing technical and strategic leadership to ensure exceptional operational delivery of programmes from product concept to approval.

Richard Johnson
Founder & CSO

Dr Richard Johnson founded Upperton Pharma Solutions in August 1999, and continues to play a key role in the management and strategic development of the company. With over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and drug delivery fields, Richard previously held senior management positions at Andaris Limited (Vectura) and Delta Biotechnology (now Albumedix). Richard holds an honours degree in Biology from University of York and a Ph.D. from the University of Warwick and has a proven track record in successfully developing innovative pharmaceutical products from early feasibility studies through to commercial products.

Ian Lafferty
Chief Technical Officer

Ian has 25 years’ technical, operational experience gained in early phase pharmaceutical development, encompassing the formulation design and development, process optimisation and manufacture of a wide range of dosage forms including oral solids, nasal drug delivery, inhaled powders, suspensions and injectables with a focus on challenging molecules, enabling technologies and high potent handling. Ian also has significant experience in facility design and management.

Ian has previously held senior management and executive roles at a number of emerging and growing CDMOs, providing strategic and operational leadership to ensure excellence in all aspects of providing pharmaceutical services.

Paul Kelsall
Director of Clinical Manufacturing

Paul Kelsall joined Upperton Pharma Solutions in August 2018. Paul has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having previously worked for Boots, Reckitt Benckiser, Nova Laboratories and Aesica. Paul’s experience covers both Sterile and Non-Sterile Manufacturing, Formulation Development, Facilities Management and Business Improvement. Paul’s responsibilities include managing the Upperton Pharma Solutions Facility and all the GMP Operations that are conducted on site. Paul is also responsible for the New Business Introduction of all GMP projects.

Laura Mason
Director of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr Laura Mason joined Upperton in 2016 as a Project Scientist, with promotion to roles of Project Manager and Director of Business Operations, before becoming Director of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2021. Laura has previous experience within solid oral dosage form development having completed her PhD in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, and her Pharmacy Pre-Registration Year at Merck Sharp and Dohme and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital. Laura is a UK Registered Pharmacist, the current treasurer of the UKICRS and a member of several pharmaceutical societies. Laura is responsible for the introduction and co-ordination of the company’s R&D projects, ensuring high-quality of service for client projects.

Helen Gisby
Director of Analytical Services

Helen joined Upperton Pharma Solutions in September 2021 and has over 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Helen has held senior leadership roles in Quality Control and Quality Assurance and has significant experience delivering analytical testing services across a range of different dosage forms from early phase method development through to commercial release. Helen has also held operational Quality Management positions; developing and coaching operational teams ensuring continual regulatory compliance and promoting a quality culture.  Helen is responsible for all aspects of Quality Control and the successful transfer of analytical projects from R&D to GMP manufacturing.

Lisa Roberts
Head of Business Operations

Lisa has over 15 years’ experience within the pharmaceutical industry and joined in November 2021.  Lisa has previously held senior roles within pharmaceutical development, business development and commercial operations covering all aspects of drug development and clinical research from early stage to late stage projects. Lisa is responsible for the oversight of business operations including management of all new business opportunities and monthly reporting.

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