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UK companies at Arab Health 2007

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MIDDLE EAST as a market for medical technologies has been underlined by an impressive UK presence at the largest healthcare exhibition in the region. 96 UK medical technology companies exhibited at Arab Health 2007 in Dubai last month, with many predicting future alliances as the market grows.

Tony Davis, CEO of Medilink West Midlands, said: “The UAE market is flush with money and early adopters seeking high-quality but elite products to create a tourism healthcare destination. Alongside this is a robust distribution network servicing a high-need community.”

Stephanie Reed, PR Officer for Medilink Yorkshire and Humber, said: “Companies showcasing their cutting-edge innovations with the support of Medilink Y&H included provider of medical lighting equipment Brandon Medical, leading supplier of operating theatre equipment Anetic Aid, designer and manufacturer of washer disinfectors Dawmed International, and manufacturer of a communicator aid for stroke patients Heeken House. The event proved to be a great success for many of the companies, acting as a fantastic platform for international partnerships.”

Medilink WM member companies that attended Arab Health 2007 include Minivator and Nexus DMS. Tony Mercer, Sales & Marketing Director of Minivator, said: “Our experience of Arab Health was extremely rewarding. During our time we met some very useful contacts and are looking forward to fostering these relationships with a view to expanding our penetration in these regions.”

John Robinson, Managing Director of Nexus DMS, said: “As aspiring exporters we are finding Arab Health a successful forum for networking, with the UAE a conduit to surrounding Middle Eastern markets. Arab attitudes to UK and European homecare and mobility products are very positive, and longer-term trading partnerships are welcomed.”

SpineVision establishes UK subsidiary

SPECIALIST MEDICAL DEVICE company SpineVision® has established a wholly-owned direct sales subsidiary for the UK, based in Chester. Raymond Thomasen is Managing Director of the new sales operation. Raymond Thomasen was previously Vice President Europe, MEA, for Wright Medical Technology for three years, and made the UK Wright’s highest growth market for two of those years. Before that, in eight years with Stryker, he was twice named as ‘European Sales Manager of the Year’. “Ray Thomasen is a very experienced and successful sales-and-marketing executive with significant experience in the device market in general and in the UK territory in particular,” said Julian Mackenzie, CEO of SpineVision. “We expect Ray to hire at least 10 direct sales representatives or agents in the near term to begin calling on neurosurgeons and spine surgeons throughout the UK. Ray’s group will be looking for opportunities related to distributing other companies’ products if they are complementary. We believe that our PediGuard™ product, which has blockbuster potential, will open a lot of doors for Ray and his team.”

New offices for stoma care company

  Fittleworth Medical Ltd, a home delivery service for stoma and continence supplies, has moved to new offices. The company was originally based in the village of Ford, but has grown significantly in recent years. The 25 care centre staff have moved to the new offices in nearby Littlehampton. The new premises include a state of the art customer care centre and a clinic room.

The new offices were officially opened by the Mayor of Littlehampton, Malcolm Belchamber, and the area’s MP, Nick Gibb. Julia Constable, Managing Director of Fittleworth Medical, said: “This move is a significant milestone for us and establishes us as a major local company.”

Anne Demick, National Secretary of the Ileostomy Association, said: “We have enjoyed a close relationship with Fittleworth Medical for many years now and it is wonderful to see how they have expanded. This move to new offices will benefit their staff and customers and enable them to build on this progress.”

CIGA Healthcare wins Best of British Industry Award

  BELFAST-BASED DIAGNOSTICS company CIGA Healthcare has received the Best of British Industry Award for Small Companies.

The Award was presented by Sir Digby Jones, who said that “CIGA were head and shoulders above the other entrants” and “They have taken on the giants of industry and won.” He continued: “This award celebrates smaller companies destined to go far. Our winner has few resources, few people, but still manages to compete successfully against multinationals, cornering some 15% of the pregnancy test market. The judges felt it was a model business of its kind.”

Irwin Armstrong, CEO of CIGA, said: “This is a tribute to our staff and those of our partners, suppliers and customers who work closely with us. For a small Northern Ireland company to share awards with companies whose names are known not only in the UK but worldwide is a tremendous boost for our company as we expand into Europe.”

CIGA was formed in 2005 to sell ‘Self Test’ rapid diagnostic tests. The company’s Suresign® product line includes tests for pregnancy, menopause, ovulation, cholesterol and diabetes. CIGA’s products are independently CE marked in the UK for retail sale. The company plans distribution in the larger EU countries within the next 12 months.

New baby screening programme

  ALL BABIES IN ENGLAND are to be screened for the inherited metabolic disease Medium Chain Acyl CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency (MCADD) within two weeks of birth, Health Minister Ivan Lewis has announced. The check will be carried out as part of the standard ‘heelprick’ baby screening test.

MCADD is a rare disease that affects the control of blood sugar level under metabolic stress. Screening should identify around 28 cases a year in England. If the disease is not identified and treated early, around a quarter of affected children die from the condition and one-third of survivors suffer neurological damage.

Sheila Shribman, National Clinical Director for Children, said: “This is a very important screening programme. Evidence shows that screening newborn babies for this condition will not only save lives, but can significantly improve their quality of life. Simple treatment through dietary management will substantially reduce the risk of death and of acute, serious illness.”

Following a pilot study of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of NHS screening for this disease, the UK National Screening Committee (NSC) has recommended screening for all newborn babies. A rollout of the screening programme is planned over the next two years.

Diagnostics sector shake-up continues

3M HAS EXPANDED its diagnostics platform with the acquisition of UK-based specialist Acolyte Biomedica Ltd. The news is the latest activity in the shake-up of the diagnostics sector, and follows Abbott’s decision to sell its core laboratory diagnostics and point-of-care businesses to GE.

Based in Salisbury, Acolyte Biomedica develops, manufactures and markets rapid microbial detection products. Its rapid culture-based MRSA test, BacLite Rapid®, can detect the presence or absence of MRSA from clinical samples in less than five hours. It is the only rapid test that discriminates between live and dead bacteria, allowing clinicians to determine the risk of infection.

The acquisition of Acolyte Biomedica allows 3M to expand into the growing market of infection prevention diagnostics – especially in Europe, where Acolyte has a commercial presence. Chuck Kummeth, Vice-President of 3M Medical Division, said: “Our vision is to continue expanding our platform to include diagnostic solutions ranging from simple, culture-based approaches to more advanced molecular diagnostics.”

Abbott will sell its core laboratory diagnostics businesses – the Abbott Diagnostics Division and Abbott Point of Care – to GE for $8.13 billion in cash. The Molecular Diagnostics and Diabetes Care businesses will remain part of Abbott. The sale is expected to close in the first half of 2007. “The laboratory diagnostics market has changed considerably in the last decade. Innovation in this segment will be increasingly driven by automation, system integration and a host of skills that GE can offer,” said Miles D. White, Chairman and CEO of Abbott. “As part of GE, Abbott’s core diagnostics and point-of-care businesses will be powerfully positioned to extend their market success.”

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