Representatives from business, community and political life in northwest Ireland travelled to Boston this week to take part in the seventh annual Golden Bridges conference promoting transatlantic partnerships.
Among key Irish American speakers at the two day gathering (21-22 October 2015) are Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston and Marty Meehan, President of the University of Massachusetts.
Backed by Councils from Donegal, Derry City, and Strabane, the event in the Seaport Hotel, Boston, will hear from Donegal County Council Chairperson, Councillor Ciarán Brogan, and Maiden City Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion.
Key backing for the transatlantic initiative has come from Invest Northern Ireland in the US with two companies which have made recent investments in Derry-Londonderry, OVS and Metaverse Mod Squad, being honoured at a gala luncheon during the conference.
The event in Boston will focus on a life sciences forum on linking Boston and North West Ireland’s changing life sciences industries. Speakers will include bio-entrepreneur Susan Whoriskey and Mark Campbell, Senior Manager at Randox Laboratories which boasts facilities in Co. Antrim, Co. Donegal and in the US. Mark will also be speaking at Harvard University on the potential of Irish life science innovations to improve healthcare globally. Commenting on the event, Mark said:
“This is a great opportunity to strengthen life science links between the North West of Ireland and Boston. We at Randox know that we have much to offer and we’re very grateful for the support from Donegal County Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta in enabling this event to happen.”
For more details: aisling-events.com
Young women should be offered ‘fertility MoTs’ at 25 so that they don’t leave it too late to start a family, doctors have said.
The British Fertility Society has warned that many young women are unaware of how their ability to conceive declines with age and has called for fertility checks to be introduced by the NHS to act as a “wake up call”.
The warning is intended to highlight the risks associated with waiting too long to start a family, such as the heartache of later infertility and complications in pregnancy and child birth.
Professor Adam Balen, Chairman of the British Fertility Society is quoted in the national press as wanting to “put the family back into family planning”, and said that many women were far too optimistic about their biological clock, and that women do not have the control over their fertility that easy access to contraception has led them to believe.
Checks could indicate whether you are more likely to have problems, or start having problems, and could indicate key measures such as how many eggs a woman has left. Consultations could include diet and lifestyle advice such as stopping smoking, cutting back on alcohol and checks on obesity and anorexia, which can contribute to infertility.
The number of women in Northern Ireland aged 35-39 having babies has increased in line with current trends across the rest of the UK, with around a fifth of all babies in the UK now born to mothers over 35 as many women put off starting a family due to a pressure to develop careers. Professor Balen suggests that ideally young couples should be trying to start a family by the time they are in their late 20s, or early 30s. He said that young people need to be able to have the option of both developing careers and starting families, “not one to the exclusion of another”.
With the NHS focused on education to try to prevent pregnancy, rather than encourage it, and a cut back on providing fertility treatments for couples struggling to conceive, it has become more and more common for people to self-fund fertility tests and treatments.
Jenny Dobbs, a leading fertility expert at Randox Health Clinics suggests that a fertility test early and regularly, would help couples who are trying for a family:
“Around one in six couples in Northern Ireland have difficulty conceiving, and this is not always down to a problem with the sperm, eggs and reproductive organs. A fertility health check can be life changing for a couple who are trying for a baby, or for women who want to understand more about their current fertility levels.
Randox Health takes a unique approach to fertility through comprehensive personalised blood testing for both men and women. Highly advanced assessments, or MoTs, are designed to identify the earliest signs of illness and work with clients to prevent disease in your future, which is very important for preserving your fertility and making healthy babies.”
A ground-breaking undercover investigation has exposed the deadly world of legal highs, the latest drug craze sweeping the UK and causing devastation to families and communities across the country.
An investigative team from the BBC followed the journey of these dangerous and highly addictive substances from source to sale and used secret filming to reveal that legal substances bought in the UK’s high streets pose a hazardous and lethal risk.
During the hour-long programme this evening on BBC Scotland, journalists shine a spotlight on the growing legal high epidemic, where synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine.
The team enlisted the help of Randox Testing Services, to further investigate the make-up of these drugs, which contain a cocktail of chemical ingredients that suppliers continually tweak to evade the law.
But the legality of these ‘highs’ in no way makes the drugs any safer. The disturbing test results show that legal highs bought in the UK contain a poisonous mixture of synthetic cannabinoids which have as strong an effect as illegal drugs, such as LSD or Amphetamines, and in some cases even stronger.
Sadly, the statistics correspond, as Government figures show that in just three short years the number of deaths in the UK linked to legal highs grew from 12 in 2009, to 97 in 2012.
It is a growing problem that Dr. Mark Piper, Head of Toxicology at Randox Testing Services, is all too familiar with:
“It’s very much back-room and underground chemistry that’s behind all this. You don’t know what’s in them and what quantities of chemicals are used, and therefore how much to take. These substances were not even designed to be used on humans, so in taking them you are playing Russian roulette with your life.”
Piper added; “In supporting the fantastic investigative team from the BBC we are glad to assist in highlighting this growing epidemic which has had shattering effects on families and communities across the UK.”
The intense rise in prevalence of legal highs and their catastrophic effects has sparked the debate of a controversial Psychoactive Substances Bill, which potentially will implement a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of any substance defined as having a ‘psychoactive effect’.
This BBC Scotland documentary will air tonight, Monday, 5th October 2015, on BBC One Scotland at 9p.m.
On World Heart Day 2015, Randox Laboratories unveiled a rapid, highly accurate diagnostic test to identify individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a common disorder that is passed from parents to their children. FH is often called the ‘silent killer’ as it is characterised by dangerously high levels of cholesterol, leading to early onset cardiovascular disease. The good news is that if diagnosed, FH can be effectively treated; the even better news this National Cholesterol Month is that this new test has made diagnosis across the UK much simpler.
Thousands of families in the UK are affected by FH, as not only is heart disease the number one killer across the globe, there is a 50:50 chance that a parent with FH will pass it onto their children. The condition can lead to higher risk of a heart attack in men before the age of 50, or before the age of 60 in women.
A common disease, at least 1 in every 500 people in the UK are living with FH, although new international research suggests that 1 in every 200 people could be affected, which would mean as many as 300,000 people in the UK. Worryingly, it is substantially underdiagnosed and less than 12% of people with FH in the UK are aware that they have this potentially life-threatening condition.
The current recommended screening techniques are costly and time consuming, limiting the number of individuals who benefit from a timely diagnosis. Under NHS guidelines, when a person is found to have FH, their closest blood relatives should get tested too – including children before the age of 10. The new test allows definitive diagnosis within one day, rather than the usual weeks or even months for current tests, removing unnecessary anxiety and allowing people to take immediate action before it’s too late.
The new molecular test that has been developed by Randox Laboratories in Crumlin, Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, enables detection of the 40 most common genetic mutations that cause FH in the UK, with results available in just three hours. With early and appropriate treatment, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking cholesterol-lowering medication, risk of heart disease can be significantly reduced so that someone with FH can live as long as a person who doesn’t have the condition.
Professor John Chapman, Past- President of the European Atherosclerosis Society, which promotes study into the causes of accelerated atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, has welcomed the new test for suspected cases of FH:
“FH is a serious condition for those with a family history of accelerated atherosclerosis and premature cardiovascular disease. With this information, preventative measures including diet, lifestyle and lipid lowering drugs can be successfully introduced. Indeed, early identification and prevention can significantly benefit all family members potentially with this condition. In fact, we are entering an exciting time in the treatment of those with cardiovascular disease as new and highly effective drugs for lipid management are becoming available.”
The test, which is available through Randox Health Clinics, has been adopted by medical professionals within the NHS, including Dr. Colin Graham, recently retired Consultant Clinical Scientist and former Head of the Regional Genetics Lab in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who introduced the test within his Belfast Laboratory screen for suspected cases of FH:
“The launch of this new clinically available test is a key milestone in the detection and diagnosis of FH. Current FH diagnostic tests require a large volume of samples to be batched, leading to lengthy turnaround times of two to three months. With the new test, the turnaround time is dramatically reduced, enabling more rapid patient diagnosis.”
Dr. Graham also highlighted the importance of improving detection rates through the screening of wider patient populations:
“This new test has the potential to enable FH screening to become routine in the clinical setting for improved detection and earlier identification of familial cases.”
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories said:
“In the battle against cardiovascular disease, people with FH are on the front line. On World Heart Day it is important to raise awareness of FH as many people do not even know that they and their family members have this life-threatening condition. There is so much that can be done to support families with FH and with this readily available and much-needed test, detecting and treating entire families with FH is now possible.”
For more information please contact our Randox Comms Team:
Tel: 028 9445 1016
Global biotechnology firm Randox, has invested more than £400,000 in upgrading the telecoms infrastructure near its headquarters in Crumlin, County Antrim. As a result, a number of businesses and residents in Northern Ireland will have access to previously unavailable fibre-optic broadband. The upgrade, essential to supporting Randox’s growing IT requirements, has involved laying down 12 kilometres of fibre-optic cable, stretching from Nutts Corner to the Lough Neagh shoreline.
The telecoms project is part of a wider investment in software, telecoms and data processing by the medical diagnostics company, as IT Manager Stephen Fawl explains:
“Randox is an international company, dealing with customers in more than 145 countries, and as such we need a world class communications network. This new fibreoptic broadband gives us the capacity, security and speed that we need. The new network extending from Nutts Corner to Randox headquarters runs at a hefty 20 gigabytes…That is enough capacity for 15 business parks or a quarter of a million homes.”
Thomas Burns, SDLP Councillor for Aldergrove and Crumlin is encouraging local residents and business owners to take advantage of the improved connectivity:
“The investment by Randox, means that anyone in proximity to the new cable can tap into the highest broadband speeds available. Businesses, especially those depending on electronic orders and skype communications can now expect the same speed and security of internet enjoyed by those in Belfast. Residents in the area can also upgrade through their broadband provider. Before this upgrade project, much of the surrounding area was a telecoms dead zone; but now this is a win-win situation with a significant boost for the local community.”
Residents and business owners in the Crumlin area keen to upgrade to high-speed fibre-optic broadband should contact their internet service provider to discuss various upgrade bundles.
Global biotechnology firm, Randox Laboratories, is taking a leading role in the world’s largest medical conference which is currently under way in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Northern Ireland medical diagnostics company is a major sponsor of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo, which is attended by over 20,000 delegates and 784 exhibitors from across the globe.
As the leading event for laboratory medicine worldwide, the conference provides an opportunity for breakthrough innovations in clinical testing and patient care to be introduced to the healthcare world.
A group of 32 members of Randox staff are attending the event, exhibiting Randox’s wide range of products and capabilities, which are exported to 145 countries. AACC provides a valuable opportunity to develop new business and clinical partnerships, as well as to consolidate and strengthen current relationships.
Managing Director of Randox, Dr. Peter FitzGerald, is attending the conference and says that the company is proud to be promoting Northern Ireland business to an international audience:
“The global laboratory diagnostics market, is currently valued at around US$55 billion, and is growing at 5.3% per year. With ambitious plans for growth over the next few years, we are committed to improving healthcare worldwide through our investment in our people and the world’s most revolutionary diagnostic technology. Our presence at the AACC annual meeting is fundamental to achieving our strategic aims in promoting our brand, and in strengthening Northern Ireland trade links across the world.”
AACC runs from the 28th – 30th July at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
- £15 million invested in R&D 2014-15
- Funding allows creation of bold new division – Randox Biosciences
- Job creation – 30 new staff
- International focus – Japan, USA, Europe; key markets
Global biotechnology firm Randox, is unveiling its latest enterprise, ‘Randox Biosciences’. The new specialist division within Randox, is dedicated to advancing scientific discovery, drug development and companion diagnostics. Randox Biosciences is the result of the merger and expansion of four existing business units; Life Sciences, Pharma Sciences, Research and Molecular.
15 new jobs have already been created at the unit based in Crumlin, with that figure expected to double by the end of the year. A core team of over 300 R&D scientists and engineers are employed at the Randox Biosciences hub, specialising in supplying products and services to universities, genetics labs and the pharmaceutical industry across the globe.
Exports and international collaborations will be key drivers of growth for the new division, as Patrick Henry, Head of Randox Biosciences explains:
“Our focus is on targeting the thriving personalised medicine market which at its heart relies on ‘precision medicine’ enabling technology and tests to tailor healthcare solutions to the right patients at the right time. Led by our dedicated research scientists, we offer advanced products, for use in academic research enabling new scientific discoveries and in pharma companies for their drug development and clinical trials.
“A particularly exciting area for Randox Biosciences is in Companion Diagnostic development. This is where new diagnostic tests are developed and approved alongside new drugs improving their efficacy and safety, whilst helping to reduce costs for healthcare networks by avoiding unnecessary or ineffective drug prescriptions.
“Precision medicine is next generation health care, with huge potential for Randox in terms of exports and collaborations. We are already creating traction in the US and Europe and have our sights set on Japan, in which we expect to have a solid presence by Autumn.”
Funding for the Randox Biosciences division is as a result of the Randox group’s commitment to innovative R&D says Randox MD, Dr Peter FitzGerald:
“Research and development is fundamental to the creation of new products and we recognise its importance. In 2014-15 we invested £15million into R&D, our most significant spend on this core function to date. This investment has allowed us to establish the Randox Biosciences division, which will act as a road map for our R&D, taking our tests and technology to new markets across the world.
“At the moment, Randox Biosciences is engaged in world-leading research into Alzheimer’s disease and cancer and is involved in more than 35 collaborations with internationally renowned academic research centres. The Randox Biosciences team is truly at the frontier of health care discovery, making our vision a reality.”
World-leading research and development at global biotechnology company, Randox, will receive a significant boost, after the government’s approval of a major investment by the Gaeltacht development agency, Údarás na Gaeltachta. €5m in R&D development assistance will be invested over 5 years, in Randox’s state-of-the-art life science and engineering facility, Randox Teoranta located in Dungloe, County Donegal.
The funding will be used to support Randox Teoranta’s ambitious R&D into conditions impacting human health, it will also bolster the company’s impressive expansion and recruitment programme, known as #Dungloe2020. The #Dungloe2020 project will see Randox Teoranta increase its employment figures to 540 by 2020.
Today (7th July 2015) the government formally approved Údarás na Gaeltachta’s €5m funding for research and development at the Dungloe site. Welcoming the government’s green light for the grant, Dr Peter FitzGerald, MD at Randox, explains how the finance will assist pioneering scientific research:
“Randox Teoranta is a next generation life-sciences, engineering research and manufacturing centre and to further our progress, we have ring-fenced more than €10m for 3 special projects; Biochip Research, Disease State Research and Chemical-Mechanical Engineering. The €5m from Údarás na Gaeltachta will also be used to support these vital programmes, which will ultimately improve healthcare world-wide.
“These projects and the wider #Dungloe2020 programme, are visionary and transformative; by supporting our ambitions, both Údarás na Gaeltachta and the government, have rubber-stamped their commitment to transforming the high-value knowledge economy of the region.”
Randox Teoranta was established in 2008 in Dungloe and currently employs 85 people, with #Dungloe2020 recruitment focused on manufacturing, software development, engineering and life sciences.
- α-PVP , ‘Flakka’ or ‘$5 Insanity’ devastating communities in US
- UK based scientists create World’s first test for detection of Flakka
- Experts ‘on watch’ for Flakka appearance in UK and Ireland
- Randox Toxicology, the world leader in designer drug detection has developed a ground breaking test for detection of Flakka, a dangerous and highly addictive new psychoactive substance.
Use of α-PVP with the street names of ‘Flakka’ and ‘$5 Insanity’ is most prevalent in the United States, particularly in Florida, parts of which are experiencing what can only be described as an epidemic. Reports of the devastating impact in Broward County, Florida, have made headlines world-wide, with users experiencing psychosis-fuelled ‘super-human’ strength; inciting violent crime. The drug can also cause hyperthermia; extreme temperature elevation, which requires immediate treatment to stem disability or death.
α-PVP is a type of ‘bath salt’, a group of drugs called synthetic cathinones which are rising in popularity due to their low costand potent side effects. α-PVP / Flakka takes the form of a white or pink, foul-smelling crystal that can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device. Vaporizing is the most popular form of consumption, because it quickly sends the drug into the bloodstream, making it particularly easy to overdose. Like other drugs of this type, α-PVP can cause a condition called “excited delirium” that involves hyper-stimulation, paranoia, hallucinations and perceived ‘super human strength’ that can lead to aggression and self-injury.
Now, scientists at Randox Toxicology have created the World’s first test for Flakka. A specialist research team has deconstructed the components of the drug and developed a simple urine test which can detect the presence of α-PVP even at very low levels. Randox Toxicology, which works with law enforcement agencies around the globe, hopes that the test will assist police services and doctors tackling Flakka at the frontline, as Dr Joanne Darragh explains:
“We know Flakka, we know what it does to the body and mind, we also know that it is made by underground chemists, who are unregulated and that it has absolutely no place in pharmaceuticals. Our key focus is to stay ahead of the producers, to develop tests for these dangerous drugs before they flood the market.”
Dr Darragh’s team has been working on the test for the past six months and has created a format which allows it to be turned around from sample to results within 2 hours. Meanwhile, Dr Darragh says her chief scientists are watching for the first signs of Flakka in the UK:
“The majority of Flakka comes from China direct into the US and although we aren’t aware of any cases in the UK, that, could of course change. Our scientists are working with International government bodies, leading clinicians and law enforcement agencies to monitor trends, study police cases and analyse market intelligence.
“New psychoactive substances are being produced almost as quickly as we can develop tests for them, all it takes is one tweak to a molecule and you have something that is an unknown. This is the challenge, for us as scientists, for the police, for medics and for users – we don’t always know what is in them and this is what makes so called legal highs incredibly dangerous.”
Global biotechnology firm Randox is unveiling its latest, state-of-the-art laboratory technology at one of the biggest medical exhibitions in the world.
Randox, headquartered in County Antrim, is exhibiting at EuroMedLab in Paris, where it is launching its new clinical healthcare analyser; the RX misano, which will be exported to hospitals, veterinary clinics and teaching laboratories across the globe.
The machine; the latest of a range of equipment designed and manufactured by Randox, is attracting the attention of key international customers, across the world.
Graeme McNeill, Global Sales Manager at Randox says the new analyser has been developed to offer cutting-edge technology and functionality, typically associated with larger instruments, on a small footprint analyser.
“At Randox we have utilised our talents and experience in the life sciences, software development and engineering to create this pioneering technology, building on over a decade of R&D for this particular product range.
“The new RX misano shines a new light on semi-automated chemistry testing with its touch screen technology and here in Paris, we have had interest from Ministries of Health, leading clinics and research institutes around the world.”
Dr Peter FitzGerald, MD at Randox, says the company is proud to be promoting Northern Ireland’s innovation to an international audience:
“Randox is committed to improving healthcare worldwide and our clinical chemistry analysers are already in place in 120 countries; but this new machine is the next generation in Randox diagnostic capabilities. It will ensure that clinicians get the most reliable and accurate results and more quickly – allowing patients to be treated effectively and efficiently.
“The RX misano is the epitome of our ambition, our innovation and is indicative of the high-calibre scientific, engineering and software talent we have in the region.”
Randox is also showcasing a new test which is a key predictor for cardio-vascular disease and heart attacks. The test identifies a biomarker in the blood called SPLA2; people with high levels of this biomarker can be three times more likely to suffer a severe coronary event.
EuroMedLab 2015, runs from the 22nd- 24th of June at the Palais de Congrés de Paris.
The RX misano is currently unavailable to purchase in Germany
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