Initially established in 1993 as M&G Chemicals Limited, the company was renamed as Apollo Scientific Limited in 1996 coinciding with its move to a 170 sq.metre business centre in Stockport (near Manchester, England).
By carrying out the sales and marketing in the UK and Europe for a number of small scale international manufacturers Apollo continued to expand. That year also saw the production of Apollo's first technically detailed catalogue of fluorochemicals, listing over 1000 items containing at least one or more fluorine atoms. Worldwide demand for these products grew along with Apollo's reputation as a supplier of competitively priced, high quality fluorochemical products. Apollo had found its main niche.
Why fluorochemicals? It was clear to the staff at Apollo that research interest into incorporating the fluorine atom into organic molecules was growing strongly. The presence of the fluorine atom can have a major influence on the physical and biological properties and chemical reactivity of an organic molecule, as witnessed by today's amazingly diverse range of commercial products containing one or more C-F bonds (agrochemicals, anaesthetics, fire-extinguishing agents, refrigerants, textile chemicals, dyes, surfactants, inert oils and lubricants, elastomers, plastics, liquid crystals, etc.). However, it was in the area of healthcare in particular that the demand for fluorochemicals has grown most strongly. Replacing hydrogen (for example) in a molecule by the fluorine atom (which has a similar steric size, but is much more electronegative) can have a dramatic effect on biological activity. It is not surprising, therefore, that many pharmaceutical products containing fluorine have been approved for use as antibiotic, anticholesterol, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiviral and anticancer drugs.
Recognising this increase in demand for fluorochemicals from medicinal chemists at pharmaceutical companies, Apollo concentrated its efforts into offering from stock an ever-increasing range of novel and difficult-to-source fluorine-containing compounds.