17/06/2003

Medical investment to create 810 new jobs

A Crumlin-based company is set to create 810 new jobs over the next three years thanks to a £123 million investment in next generation biochip technology.

Randox Laboratories say the investment will help doctors diagnose a wider range of medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease and hormone disorders, "more accurately and faster than is currently possible".

Announcing the investment, which is being backed by Invest NI, Enterprise Minister, Ian Pearson said: “Randox is a first class example of a Northern Ireland entrepreneurial business that has achieved major international success through continuous investment in innovation in R&D, product development and global marketing.

“The new diagnostic system pioneered by Randox represents worldclass technology that will establish this company as an industry leader and will raise Northern Ireland’s profile as an international biotechnology research centre. The importance of this technology was endorsed recently in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s choice of Randox for the prestigious MacRobert Award, the UK’s biggest engineering award."

The latest investment is focused on the development of an automated analyser machine and unique biochips that enable clinicians to diagnose many diseases from a single sample, for example, of blood or urine from a patient.

Almost 180 scientists have been involved in the development of the new equipment, which is called Evidence. Using the new technology, hospital laboratories will be able to perform 25 or more simultaneous tests on single samples on a one-centimetre biochip from 180 patients per hour.

The Evidence system has taken nine years to develop and represents a £55 million investment by the family-run business. Randox has worked with Queen’s University in the development of the biochip technology and has sub-contracted engineering work on the analyser to Langford Lodge, another Crumlin-based company.

Mr Pearson announced the investment with Dr Peter Fitzgerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, in the company’s Crumlin headquarters.

The company has four plants in the area engaged in R&D activities and in the manufacture of diagnostic testing products for almost 30,000 clients, mostly hospital laboratories, in 130 countries.

(MB)

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