Ben Venue Laboratories

The Depression years of the 1930's did not prevent the forming of a new industry in Bedford--Ben Venue Laboratories. Established in 1938, the company is located at 300 Northfield Road at the south end of Bedford, near Forbes Road.

Recognition for the company was not long in coming. During World War II the company developed techniques which enabled it to produce over a half a million units of sterile freeze-dried plasma for the U.s. Armed Forces. In 1943 Ben Venue received the coveted Army-Navy "E" Award for its efforts during the war.

The company also carried on research and development which led to the production of penicillin and to the development of the antibiotic Bacitracin. A penicillin plant was operated by the company from 1943 to 1945 in a massive effort to bring penicillin within reach of people around the world.

Ben Venue is recognized as the oldest and most experienced contract manufacturer of lyophilized (freeze dried) products in the United States. Since its inception, the company has been involved in the manufacture of sterile diagnostic and therapeutic agents for both human and veterinary use. Over the years it has developed more than 300 individual pharmaceutical products.

A 1987 publication by Ben Venue Laboratories indicated that for three decades the company held development and production contracts with the National Cancer Institute for clinical dosages of antitumor agents. Since 1985 Ben Venue has also been developing and manufacturing anti-AIDS products for the NCI.

In 1987 Ben Venue expanded its capabilities with the addition of 75,000 square feet of new manufacturing space. This enabled the company to increase its business in the formulation, sterile filling, inspection, labeling, and packaging of numerous clients' products.

Another plant expansion was announced in 1996. This is a 50,000 square foot, three-story addition which is expected to add 30 new jobs to the October 1996 total of 442 employees. Ground breaking for the $4 million project took place on October 22, and was completed in about a year.

Today Ben Venue Laboratories is Bedford's largest employer. For almost sixty years the company has been not only a major industry in Bedford, but has also been a major producer of pharmaceutical products in the United States.

Written by R.W.Bell
April 1997