Randox announces its £30m investment in specialised COVID-19 testing lab
Randox invests £30m and 200 new jobs in specialised COVID-19 testing lab
As part of efforts to enhance its national testing capacity, global diagnostics company Randox has announced an investment of £30m in a new specialised COVID-19 testing hub.
The healthcare firm, which is currently conducting COVID-19 tests as part of the national testing programme, announced its investment in the new facilities based at the Randox Science Park in Antrim, Northern Ireland, during a visit yesterday by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis CBE.
The specialised laboratory, the development of which was fast-tracked over the space of four weeks, is the first step in a wider diagnostics investment programme from Randox.
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“The national testing programme, as a collaborative effort by government and various partners within industry, has increased testing capacity at an unparalleled speed – by installing a network of drive-through testing centres, introducing home testing kits, and now, opening this specialised lab at the Randox Science Park in Northern Ireland.
“An incredible amount of work has gone into making this cutting-edge testing facility a reality in a relatively short space of time, as we know that effective testing is the most effective way to both save lives and promote a timely return to a more normal society.”
The opening of the new laboratory at the Randox Science Park follows the company’s announcement that it is recruiting new staff across Science, Engineering and Manufacturing in support of its role within the national testing programme.
The 200 new positions will be involved in the testing of potential COVID-19 samples, as well as the construction of 200 new state-of-the-art diagnostic analysers which will significantly increase Randox’s capacity for COVID-19 testing.
Dr FitzGerald continued;
“Now that we have in place the infrastructure and laboratory space required to enhance our testing capacity, we look forward to implementing the next step in our COVID-19 investment programme.
“By accelerating the build schedule for new specialised equipment, and hiring 200 associated workers across Science, Engineering and Manufacturing we will further enhance the government’s national testing scheme, as well as facilitate testing more broadly across the general populace.”
Secretary of State Brandon Lewis MP welcomed the new investment saying:
“I was impressed during my visit with the dedication of staff and the top-class facilities at Randox. This investment will help support the UK’s nationwide effort to fight the coronavirus and ultimately save lives.”
Dr FitzGerald concluded;
“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all my colleagues at Randox who continue to work assiduously to process such a high volume of tests in a timely manner.
“I know I speak on behalf of everyone when I say we appreciate all your hard work and the vital role you play in the practical application of COVID-19 testing.”
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A £700,000 UK Research and Innovation investment into manufacturing processes at Randox means patients could benefit from quicker, cheaper and more consistent diagnosis of diseases.
The announcement comes exactly one year after the government launched its modern Industrial Strategy – the long-term plan to boost productivity by backing businesses to create high-quality, well-paid jobs in every corner of the United Kingdom.
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) award, administered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will allow Randox Laboratories to further develop its state-of-the-art ‘freeze-drying’ technology which enables the components of vital diagnostic kits to be manufactured, stored and transported more effectively, producing better and speedier diagnoses.
For the first time it also allows this complicated manufacturing process to be carried out in the UK rather than having to be outsourced to countries such as the United States, bringing more jobs and economic growth. These new genomic analysis tools also have the potential to make a major impact in the global fight against antimicrobial resistance by identifying and quickly sharing information about resistant microbial strains.
More in-depth analysis of biomarkers in blood and other bodily fluid levels will allow better, quicker diagnosis of cancers and a range of other diseases, ranging from respiratory infections to sepsis, such as blood poisoning.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said:
“I am delighted to announce a £700,000k UK Government investment in Randox, a multinational life sciences company in County Antrim. This funding will bring significant benefits to Randox’s vital medical diagnostics and help create well-paid manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland.
“A year-on from the launch of our Modern Industrial Strategy, this investment highlights the great progress we are making to boost productivity by backing leading businesses and creating high-quality jobs in every corner of the United Kingdom.”
John Penrose, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, who visited Randox today to mark the new investment, said:
“Everyone always says the UK needs more high-tec, high-value added manufacturing and the high-skilled, high-waged jobs it brings. But Randox are actually doing it right here in Northern Ireland. This is properly world leading, cutting-edge industry and I’m delighted that today’s money is helping bring the vision to life.”
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented:
“Innovative diagnostic technologies are not only capable of diagnosing disease and ill-health at the earliest possible stage, but they also have a real potential to advance personalised medicine. Our commitment to developing new and exciting breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing is therefore matched only, by our passion to transform the life of the patient. Randox is leading the way in moving from a one-size-fits-all approach towards decisions, practices, and products tailored to the needs of the individual and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund award brings us one step closer to realising that aim.”
Funded through UK Research and Innovation, the award forms part of the ISCF Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine programme, focusing on the use of diagnostic information and genetic analysis to drive more personalised healthcare. Innovate UK, now part of UK Research and Innovation, has supported Randox extensively since 2010, helping grow and scale an innovative diagnostics company who are now distributing their products all over the world.
The announcement comes after the government’s announcement of the Life Sciences Sector Deal that will support healthcare innovation and back businesses to create high-paid, high-quality jobs as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. The deal signals a vote in confidence in UK industry, with global biopharmaceutical company UCB investing around £1 billion in research and development.
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World-leading medical diagnostics manufacturer Randox Laboratories is this week showcasing advancements in biotechnology at the world’s largest diagnostics conference, being held in Chicago, Illinois.
The American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo, known as the leading event for laboratory medicine worldwide, offers Randox the opportunity to showcase their capabilities to more than 20,000 healthcare professionals and decision makers from around the globe.
“Our pioneering diagnostic technologies are leading the way in innovation and have real potential to transform healthcare around the world,” said Randox Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald.
“At AACC we will be hosting demonstrations of a wide range of our intuitive multiplex analysers, including the revolutionary Randox Evidence Evolution, the world’s first fully automated random-access testing platform, capable of delivering 2640 results in one hour, with the first delivered in just 37 minutes.”
The unique and unrivalled capabilities of the Randox Evidence Evolution are made possible thanks to Randox’s patented Biochip Array Technology, which can currently run 49 different tests simultaneously – ensuring an accurate and reliable diagnosis as fast as possible.
Launching at this year’s AACC event are a number of exciting new tests on the Randox Biochip, the result of a £280 million investment in research and development. Including but not exclusive to a diagnostic test for the differentiation of hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes, an algorithm capable of generating a patient’s Type 1 Diabetes Genetic Risk Score, and a test to diagnose Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) in the participants of pharmaceutical drug trials, these new tests all share the common goal of much earlier and effective diagnosis, to greatly improve healthcare outcomes and reduce the burden on healthcare services.
Dr. FitzGerald continued;
“We remain committed to developing new health diagnostic technologies for a range of the world’s most pressing health issues in need of the most urgent address, and to expanding the business in our key markets, such as the US.
“Our very significant investment in research and development means that we have more new tests in development than any other healthcare company in the world and are able each year to bring a wealth of exciting new technologies to the American market.
“We look forward to showcasing our latest innovations at this year’s AACC conference, and how they can be utilised to save, improve and extend lives through the earliest possible diagnosis. Randox technology can truly revolutionise the future of healthcare.”
AACC runs from the 29th July – 2nd August at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. Randox can be found at booth #3624.
For further information visit aacc.randox.com
A record £50 million investment which will deliver cutting-edge technologies to diagnose conditions like cancer, heart conditions and infectious diseases has been announced by Northern Ireland diagnostics company Randox Laboratories and Invest Northern Ireland.
This major project involves the establishment of three Centres of Excellence, enabling Randox R&D scientists to work collaboratively with colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. The centres are being officially launched today at the Randox Science Park. The ceremony will include a keynote address from Sir John Bell, who chaired the UK Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Board.
Advanced diagnostics have been identified as key to delivering sustainable improvement to healthcare systems struggling to cope with increasing levels of chronic and preventable conditions. Having been focused in this field for over 36 years, Randox has a successful track record of developing new and innovative tests – examples include assessing those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and genetic cardiac conditions, to promote and enable preventive treatment, and a new clinically-approved test to diagnose prediabetes.
Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, Dr Peter FitzGerald, who today launched the three Centres of Excellence, said;
“When almost a quarter of the deaths of people under 75 in the UK are considered preventable, we need to ask ourselves what can be done to improve healthcare outcomes. There is an undeniable case for radical change in the way healthcare is delivered, and sophisticated diagnostics will be at the fore of this revolution.
“Enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis, to identify those at the earliest stages of illness, ideally before the onset of any symptoms, is a game-changer. Through early intervention we can restrict the development of chronic conditions and improve people’s lives. Our view of the future is one where people are empowered through earlier diagnosis to stay healthier for longer, and where healthcare systems are freed to deliver quality services to patients. Our announcement today demonstrates our continuing commitment in this field.
“We are grateful for the support offered by Invest NI and look forward to addressing these pressing healthcare needs.”
The Centres of Excellence will focus respectively on clinical diagnostics, engineering for biosciences and quality control. The project, which will strengthen collaborative partnerships between Randox, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, will accelerate the development of new technologies and drive healthcare improvements regionally, nationally and across the globe.
Of the £23m of support offered by Invest NI, £5m will go toward research projects at Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast.
Welcoming the investment, Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI said;
“Randox has a long history of investing heavily in innovation and R&D which has enabled it to create a globally competitive export driven business, capable of developing world leading research. This major investment will enable Randox to perform cutting-edge R&D which has the potential to revolutionise the global healthcare industry. This is excellent news for Northern Ireland’s life and health sciences sector. Northern Ireland is enjoying a growing international reputation as a region of expertise and knowledge in key areas such as Diagnostics, Precision Medicine and Advanced Manufacturing. The three new Centres of Excellence will help build on this and enhance Northern Ireland’s credibility, provide supply chain opportunities, and encourage knowledge transfer with our universities.”
Sir John Bell, commenting on the potential for the UK Life Sciences sector said;
“The life sciences industry represents one of the dominant economic sectors in the UK, and one with considerable potential for growth. However, whilst we have many natural strengths we cannot afford to be complacent. We must strive to optimise our science base, to encourage collaboration across academia, industry and the NHS, and grow our industrial capabilities. To do so we need to use our extensive data sets to best effect, and have in place a strong skills strategy. Success requires vision and drive. To that end I would like to congratulate Dr FitzGerald and Randox in the establishment of these three R&D collaborative Centres of Excellence – these are assets of national standing and will have a meaningful impact in enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis, driving improvements in patient care, regionally, nationally and globally. They are leaders in this field, committed to innovation, and I wish them every success.”
Professor Jim McLaughlin, Director of Ulster University’s Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre, added;
“This very welcome investment enables pioneering Randox-inspired engineering capacity at Ulster University and reflects our research commitment to the life sciences industry. From nanotechnology to the development of systems that will enable large scale laboratory capability to be produced in the palm of your hand, the partnership brings shared industry and academic research excellence from the lab into the marketplace. Life sciences is a vital economic sector locally and this collaboration will advance diagnostics and ultimately enhance patient health outcomes.”
Dr David Jess, Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast School of Mathematics and Physics, added;
“The Randox Centres of Excellence will allow Queen’s University Belfast to continue to deliver cutting-edge and world leading research. We look forward to collaborating further with industry to develop pioneering research, focused on the needs of society.”
Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014 – 2020.
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