Randox invests £15 million in R&D ‘Roadmap’ to target the international personalised medicine market
- £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.”