Belfast Telegraph

Health firm ARC Devices' decision to headquarter here creates 13 new posts

By Clare Weir

A medical devices company which makes non-contact digital thermometers has established a headquarters in Northern Ireland, creating 13 jobs.

The firm is the latest in a long line of healthcare firms to base itself here.

Among the companies already operating in Northern Ireland are Japanese firm Terumo, which makes products for blood transfusion at a factory in Larne, and indigenous firms like health test kit makers Randox, pharma company Almac and cancer-detecting firm PathXL.

ARC Devices develops and manufactures non touch, infrared digital thermometers for use at home by consumers and in clinical environments by medical professionals and has decided to base its headquarters in Holywood, Co Down where it will carry out design, support and market development activities.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered ARC Devices £74,000 towards its investment. Salaries from six jobs supported by Invest NI will contribute £300,000 per year to the economy.

Kevin Paul, chief executive at ARC Devices, said that the products are already on sale across the globe.

"Our non touch, infrared digital thermometers are currently sold in 22 countries around the world," he said.

"The non touch functionality of our products alleviates the stress associated with taking temperature, especially for babies, children and the elderly and the new sensor technology delivers unparalleled accuracy for peace of mind.

"Invest NI's support is essential as it has allowed us to move quickly to recruit high calibre staff and get our business activity underway.

"We have worked closely with Invest NI's trade team to explore new market opportunities in Europe and the Middle East, which is developing positively and we look forward to launching our new product range later this year."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the new company added to the province's growing life sciences sector and brought expertise in the niche field of thermometry.

"Life sciences is an important sector characterised by knowledge-based activity and high levels of productivity, which can help to grow our local economy."

She welcomed ARC Devices' research work with the University of Ulster's Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC).

She added: "The support offered by Invest NI, collaboration opportunities and the benefits of research and development tax relief available in the UK made Northern Ireland an attractive choice for ARC Devices in choosing where to base their operations."

In May last year, Mrs Foster joined Health Minister Edwin Poots to launch a report on the health and social care sector.

Mr Poots said the sector spends almost £4.5bn, provides for 9% of the workforce and generates almost 10% of total economic output.

They launched a report identifying opportunities to support economic development through the sector in Northern Ireland.

Recommendations included a strategy to increase innovation and collaboration with health and life sciences in the private sector and academia, and a health innovation life sciences hub to drive projects forward.

BACKGROUND

ARC Devices is a new company in Co Down specialising in non-touch digital thermometers.

It has been celebrated as an example of the potential of the health and social care sector to contribute to the economy. Last year Health Minister Edwin Poots and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the sector spent nearly £4.5bn every year.

Access to skilled labour sealed deal, says ARC chief

Medical equipment company ARC Devices said their decision to remain based in Northern Ireland was made because of the expertise in advanced technological research and development available in the province.

The company was established in 2013 by Kevin Paul to deliver the latest benefits in healthcare through a range of "vital signs monitoring devices".

ARC Devices is based in Holywood, a decision prompted by economic support from Invest NI and access to a skilled workforce in the region – though it also has an international shareholder base.

Mr Paul said the company was a good fit with existing medical and healthcare companies already operating in Northern Ireland, and demonstrated that the efforts of the enterprise and health ministers to promote connected health could bear fruit.

Mr Paul said: "The establishment of ARC Devices in Holywood provides a much-needed boost to the health care sector in Northern Ireland and supports the ministers' economic vision for the future, contributing to the economic competitiveness of Northern Ireland and increasing employment and wealth in the region," he said.

ARC acquired Brooklands Inc in Florida in October last year, giving it ownership of VeraTemp. It is the world's best-selling non-touch thermometer, and uses an infrared sensor to measure temperature.

ARC plans to expand sales of the VeraTemp into mainland Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.

The firm also launched four new highly-accurate non-touch thermometers at the MEDICA trade show in Germany late last year.

Future research and development projects include the design of devices to monitor vital signs including pulse, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and blood saturation.

The firm is backed by independent investors from the US, UK, Canada, Ireland and The Netherlands.

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