Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced investments totalling £9.2 million in research and development (R&D) by global diagnostics firm Randox Laboratories.
Independently-owned Randox, based in Crumlin, Co. Antrim, specialises in the development of sophisticated chemical diagnostic tests and devices, primarily targeted at hospital, clinical and veterinary laboratories worldwide.
The company employs over 500 people in Northern Ireland and a further 190 overseas in a network of sales and distribution offices serving more than 100 countries.
Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI), through its Grant for R&D programme, has offered £3.1 million, with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund, towards the investments by Randox.
The investments will support R&D, across three distinct projects, into the latest diagnostics solutions that will enhance the company's product offering and develop production efficiencies as it seeks to grow its global market share, particularly in Asia.
Making the announcement during a visit to the company, the Minister said: "Since its establishment in 1982, Randox has developed an internationally renowned reputation for excellence in the high-tech world of clinical diagnostics. This has enabled the company to become a multinational success story, generating revenues in excess of £50 million annually.
"These latest investments by Randox, supported by Invest NI, will see the company further develop its already strong research capability and underline its longstanding commitment to seeking out new and improved diagnostic solutions. By recognising the long term commercial value of innovation, Randox is positioning itself well to withstand the challenges of the recession and continue to add significant value to the economy."
The Minister added: "As the global economy continues to challenge even the most resilient businesses, this locally owned company is an inspiration to the wider business community. Dr Fitzgerald's commitment to research and to world class products has never wavered and the company has gone from strength to strength as a result. Randox is a true example of how innovation can sustain business success and deliver high quality employment opportunities."
Founder and Managing Director of Randox Dr Peter Fitzgerald said: "More than one third of our staff based here in Northern Ireland are engaged in key R&D activities. This helps us continuously refine and add to our range of diagnostic tools and, crucially, enables us to retain our existing clients and attract new ones.
"Asia, in particular the Far East, currently represents our fastest growing market and we are keen to fully exploit the potential that the area presents. With the support of Invest NI, this investment will enable us to compete, and succeed, there in the medium to long term whilst also maintaining our strong position in Europe and the US."