A Mid Wales serial entrepreneur is proud to be celebrating half a century of developing products used to help diagnose cancer.
Peter Webber, 86, formed cytology and histology products specialist CellPath back in 1972 and the business, based in Newtown, has recently been sold to StatLab Medical Products from Texas, United States, which has strengthened the company’s global market position.
It’s the second time that multi-award winning CellPath, which makes cancer diagnostic products, has been sold by Peter and his sons, Paul and Philip.
The first sale was in 1999 to Medical Solutions plc but the Webber family bought the business back in 2002 to develop CellNass, the national cellular pathology secure sample archive facility.
Paul and Philip have since led the successful expansion of the company, which is established as a market leader in Europe and has a workforce of 106.
Reflecting on his 50 years with CellPath, Peter says he is proud of the company’s achievements and the life-saving products it has developed.
I am proud to have made a significant contribution to pathology for more than 50 years by introducing a series of innovations, he said. I have constantly tried to introduce products to improve cancer diagnostics.
In general, I think there is always a better way to do things and CellPath continues to come up with ideas to make further improvements in cancer diagnostics.
We introduced the Aylesbury spatula and CerviBrush, CerviKit, which is now in the Science Museum, Ortho Stains, CytoFocus and liquid cytology, which I brought to the UK from America.
The business was launched from the Webber home in Hemel Hempstead and became a family affair from the start, with Peter’s wife Elaine and their sons all involved.
A chartered engineer, Peter worked for several scientific instrument companies before, in 1966, setting up a joint venture called Disc Instruments with a US company which became part of Thermo Scientific, a global medical services provider.
He sold his Disc Instruments equity in 1970 and has worked for himself ever since. Now in his 80s, his entrepreneurial flair is still going strong, as he constantly looks to bring new ideas to market.
His latest companies are LunchLocker Ltd, which has patented sealed trays that hold multiple food products in a foldable packaging system and XXO2Cell Ltd, which aims to specialise in HBOT, hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers for patient therapy.
The Lunchlocker project was patented in the 1970s when Peter provided food packages for Test cricket matches. In partnership with Mike McLaughlin and Chris Yapp, the design has since evolved to include sealed trays and they are optimistic for future success.
I have few regrets, said Peter, who has often run multiple companies simultaneously during his career. I have grabbed every opportunity and investigated it. Doors open for a certain reason and I have always looked inside. That has been my life.
We have been one big, happy family at CellPath which has been integral to the company’s success. My sons deserve great credit for driving the company forward.
Peter, who lives in Berriew, has been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement at this year’s Welsh Veterans Awards and is looking forward to the ceremony in Cardiff on June 30. In 2019, he was named the Entrepreneur of the Year at the same awards, having done his National Service in the RAF.