Skipton-based Dales Pharmaceuticals Ltd is confident its £2.8 million investment programme will quadruple its current sales.

The company, which is the in-house manufacturing and development arm of Dechra Pharmaceuticals, aims to take sales up to £20 million over the next few years.

Dales research and co-develop a wide range of veterinary pharmaceuticals with Dechra's veterinary healthcare company Arnolds.

The firm, which employs 70. also manufactures human pharmaceuticals on behalf of third parties.

The operation has undergone development which included acquiring an adjacent 27,500 sq ft facility on the Snaygill Industrial Estate which doubled its size to 57,000 sq. ft. The company is now set to exploit its position and plans to build on its existing third party contract manufacturing relationships with leading international blue chip pharmaceutical companies. It is also placed to develop Arnolds' own branded products.

Mike Annice, managing director at Dales, said: "We are delighted with the redevelopment of our Skipton facilities, which will enable us to exploit our brand profile.

"We already have a number of exciting opportunities to increase our current revenues from third party manufacturing as well as producing Arnolds' specialist products.

"The significant investment programme gives us an operationally efficient production base to drive our business forward.

"Through doubling the capacity we are confident that over time we can achieve sales of around £20 million from these facilities, which is nearly quadrupling our current position."

Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in September 2000, announced a 15 per cent increase in the group's interim pre-tax profits to £3.7m on sales of £84 million.

Revenues relating to Dales and Arnolds were also up 16 per cent, while contract manufacturing improved by 26 per cent in the six month period being reported.