World First for Warrenpoint Medical Company

Oct 05, 2005

Warrenpoint company, Clonallon Laboratories Ltd is to launch a new device for protecting surgeons and other critical care staff from potentially lethal ‘needlestick’ injuries at an Invest Northern Ireland capability stand at Europe’s biggest medical event.

Clonallon will show its highly innovative ‘NeedlecatcherTM’ device at Medica in Dusseldorf from 16-19 November. The device, which is the brainchild of a Northern Ireland consultant surgeon in emergency medicine, is being marketed internationally by Clonallon. The development of Needlecatcher and related products is being carried out by ED Medical, a Belfast-based company formed by its inventor.

Clonallon was formed by Dermot Dempster in 2002 to develop sterile packs for surgical procedures. Needlecatcher, which has already proved successful in clinical trials at major teaching hospitals in Belfast and Dublin, will be provided as part of a sterile procedure pack that will also include items for surgery such as scissors, forceps, drapes and swabs.

Mr Dempster says: “Our market research has established that Needlecatcher is the only device of its type in the world. It offers surgeons, doctors and medical students, an extremely effective means of protecting themselves from blood borne conditions such as HIV and Hepatitis when suturing patients during and after surgery. It is a single use device that helps the surgeon manipulate the needle and completely covers and holds the needle securely for safe disposal.

The Needlecatcher device has been approved by the European and US regulatory authorities. It therefore has CE and FDA certification for surgical use.

“The new device is a perfect fit for our existing product range of surgical packs. Clonallon was established by myself and Aiveen Mackle to exploit a market opportunity from a growing demand within hospitals for ready made packs for surgical procedures.  Packs for surgery were assembled by hospital staff prior to a procedure. This was a costly practice both in terms of staff time and in the need to sterilise each item individually.

“We decided to develop a broad range of sterilised packs and are now the only company in Northern Ireland providing this service. Our clients already include a number of major hospitals in Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade director, says: “Medica is the best international platform for Northern Ireland companies wishing to reach potential customers in life sciences, healthcare and medical devices.

“Our capability stand will enable companies in this strategically important business sector in Northern Ireland to show their products and services to buyers from around the world seeking new and enterprising suppliers with a sharp focus on innovation. “

Clonallon has invested in a state-of-the-art cleanroom and currently employs seven people. The company has received startup assistance and help towards marketing from Invest NI’s Southern Local Office (SLO) in Newry.

Mark Bleakney, SLO manager, adds: “Clonallon is an ambitious company which has identified potentially substantial market opportunities for its range of sterile packs and the new product to prevent needlestick injuries. It is introducing important new technology to the Newry area in line with Invest NI’s focus on innovation in key sectors such as medical devices and biomedical technology.”

The company recently secured a major contract to supply sterile packs to hospitals in the Republic.

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