A BIOTECHNOLOGY company has moved to bigger laboratories and is recruiting staff.

The Native Antigen Company says its new, purpose-built base in Kidlington will allow it to double manufacturing output.

The firm, which has 17 employees, is advertising another three roles.

It develops and manufactures viral and bacterial antigens, used by researchers to develop vaccines or testing kits to combat infectious diseases such as the Zika, Ebola and Dengue viruses.

The Native Antigen Company’s turnover doubled last year to just over £1m.

And it is on course to rise by 60 per cent this year, according to Native Antigen Company commercial director Dr Andrew Lane.

Dr Lane, who joined the firm at the beginning of last year, said growth was boosted by high demand for its Zika virus-related products.

He said: “Sadly, the Zika virus has been part of the growth that we saw last year, as we have product related to the virus.

“There is much greater awareness of these diseases, which means there is more funding from governments worldwide and from other institutions such as the Bill Gates Foundation.

“Although we do not get that funding directly, our customers do.”

The team relocated from the Cherwell Innovation Centre in Upper Heyford, where it had been since 2010.

It has moved to bigger premises within the Centre but

Ninety per cent of the firm’s sales are exports, with many customers based in the US.

Dr Lane added: “We have a good R&D team who use molecular biology to make proteins to reproduce the effects of a virus in a safe way.”