Inverness R&D centre creates 60 new jobs

Medical technology company ODx is expanding its centre for scientific excellence and creating up to 60 jobs.

The new roles, based in Inverness will include assembly technicians, lab, office and clinical staff, who will support the development of a device that helps detect the ability of urinary tract infections (UTIs) to resist antibiotics.

The technology, currently going through clinical studies, will aid patients by getting faster diagnosis and treatment, and will also save NHS costs on hospital admissions, lab time and reducing antibiotic prescriptions.

ODx can provide answers for treatment options within an hour, instead of the current time of two to three days.

Announcing the new jobs, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee said: “Scotland is recognised globally for its ground-breaking work in the life sciences sector and our existing investors play a huge role in this, so it’s wonderful to see one of them expanding in this hugely exciting sector.

“This announcement is also welcome news for the local economy. As we plan our strategic economic recovery from COVID-19, now is the time to re-imagine the Scotland around us and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy focused on wellbeing.”

ODx, who currently employs 30 people, established the medical testing business on Inverness Campus in August 2019, with £1.75m investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

CEO of ODx, Giles Hamilton said: “We are delighted to start our next phase of recruitment in Scotland. We’re committed to supporting the NHS and communities in the Highlands, Islands & Moray.

“Our local partnerships, support from HIE and the commitment to medical technology from the Scottish Government were big factors in ODx deciding to place these jobs in Inverness rather than overseas.

“We hope the creation of these positions will also help bolster the local economy as we all tackle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Charlotte Wright, chief executive of HIE, also welcomed ODx’s expansion and the firm’s commitment to the local community.

ODx recently supported the NHS’ COVID-19 response offering its’ analytics equipment, processes and expert management in setting up clinical testing in collaboration with other firms on the Inverness Campus.

She said: “This is more excellent news for the region. It is the second significant inward investment and job creation project announced recently, following Capgemini’s major contract win confirmed last month.

“When ODx established its centre on Inverness Campus last year, it was in anticipation of up to 30 new jobs in three years. This latest announcement from the company will take the total figure to more than 90 in around a year.

“Inverness and the Highlands and Islands more widely, is increasingly recognised for its growing life sciences sector. ODx is at the heart of this. Their work fits well with the collaborative and innovative ethos of Inverness Campus, as demonstrated in the efforts to tackle COVID-19, and we are very pleased to see the company grow in the region.”

In 2018, there were 172,000 hospital admissions for UTIs in the UK, with 12,000 of those presenting as chronic infections. The absence of a point of care antibiotic susceptibility test causes vast amount of suffering and avoidable mortality.

A report published on the 29 June 2020, by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), highlights further the need for urgent antibiotic stewardship, to ensure every patient receives the right antibiotic at the right time and end unnecessary prescribing.

Mr Hamilton added: “As the ASM report has detailed antibiotic resistance is a growing problem with global implications. We’re hopeful our technology can become the standard of care worldwide. Without action, simple infections that were easily treated with antibiotics in the past could become lethal.”

ODx is seeking people who suffer from UTIs to be volunteers & provide urine donations. Appointments can be booked via their website to attend their dedicated volunteer suite at Solasta House and support this vital research. /