Export Success for Antrim Biotech Company

Fortress Diagnostics, the Antrim biotech company, has won new business worth more than £100,000 by participating in the recent Medica healthcare show in Düsseldorf.

The company, based at Antrim Technology Park, attended Medica for the first time in November as part of an Invest Northern Ireland group. The new business was announced by Dr Morteza Afrasiabi, Managing Director of Fortress Diagnostics, and welcomed by Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director.

Dr Afrasiabi says: “Medica has proven to be a very successful show for us. As well as meeting a number of existing distributors, we took advantage of the opportunity to present our products and expertise to several potential partners in Europe, a market that we have targeted for growth in 2006.

“We gained our first significant business in France and Germany last year, which encouraged us to attend Medica with Invest NI. Orders from this show will enable us to strengthen the foothold that we’ve now gained in this very important marketplace. Currently, our most important markets are in the Middle East, Far East and Asia.

“As a result, we would expect that sales from new clients will be worth more than £100,000 this year. The additional business will help to support our plans to increase investment in R&D which will enable us to develop innovative products for new opportunities that we have already identified. We are developing the business into a one-stop-shop for medical diagnostic and point-of-care tests,” he adds.

Mr Hingston says: “Medica is the most significant exhibition for the global healthcare industry. It is now a ‘must’ event in life sciences and biotechnology for companies and researchers. Last year, for instance, the show attracted 137,000 trade visitors from nearly 100 countries.  There was also a strong focus at the event on diagnostic and therapy procedures.

“It is now one of the key events in our comprehensive trade development calendar. Our support enables smaller companies like Fortress Diagnostics to reach a global audience very cost effectively.  The success of this company shows that a smaller business can do very well with innovative products.”

Fortress Diagnostics has a portfolio of more than 150 products, including tests for pregnancy, serology, blood groups and clinical chemistry reagents that are used in hospital, clinics, and labs in almost 60 countries worldwide. Some of the point-of-care products are sold over-the-counter in pharmacies and chemist shops worldwide. It also specialises in products used to check the quality of other diagnostic tests and chemicals.

The company, which currently employs eight people, was acquired by Dr Morteza and Dr Rosita Afrasiabi in 2003. The couple have gained vast experience in pathology and immunology having worked in local hospitals including the Royal Victoria and City in Belfast over the past 25 years.

Invest NI will be organising a Northern Ireland group at Medica 2006.