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Scotland to produce lifesaving HIV technology
Date:4/4/2013

NEW YORK, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts-based life science company Daktari Diagnostics Inc. has announced plans to locate its global manufacturing base in Inverness, Scotland, to develop its life-saving HIV blood monitoring technology.

First Minister Alex Salmond will meet with Daktari Chief Executive Bill Rodriguez in New York today as part of his Scotland Week program aimed at encouraging inward investment.

Daktari has been in discussions with Highlands and Islands (HIE) and Scottish Development International (SDI), the country's international economic development organization, about plans to locate the production of its groundbreaking technology in Scotland.

Funding is in place to create 126 jobs, and the company's presence will build on the region's growing expertise in research, development and production in the life sciences sector.

Daktari, which employs 40 staff from its base in Cambridge, Mass., develops diagnostic tests for global health conditions such as HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis. The company's Scottish venture could see mass production of blood testing cartridges required for CD4 cell counting, a process used in HIV monitoring, as early as next year. The system is currently undergoing clinical trials in Africa.

The $15 million project is being supported by HIE and SDI with a $3 million public sector package for relocation and workforce training.

First Minister, Alex Salmond , said:

"Scotland has the most comprehensive national life sciences strategy in the world and the sector continues to go from strength to strength. I am delighted to be meeting with Daktari as part of my Scotland Week program and confirm that 126 high value jobs are coming to Inverness.

"Daktari's intention to locate its manufacturing base in Scotland is a testament to our increasing reputation as a growing life sciences community and as the ideal place to invest and do business.

"They have been attracted to the Highlands and Islands to join an internationally renowned cluster of activity, and add to a growing Scottish life sciences sector which is worth more than $4 billion to the economy annually.

"This much welcomed decision by Daktari to base its production hub in the Inverness area is another example of how the quality and skills of the Scottish workforce are being recognized by world-leading companies and reinforces Scotland's reputation for excellence in innovation and manufacturing."

Bill Rodriguez , MD, President and CEO of Daktari Diagnostics Inc., commented:

"Daktari is excited about our new CD4 count, point-of-care, portable diagnostic product for HIV patients. Inverness, Scotland, offers companies like ours considerable support and a great location, with a highly educated work force and an ability to expand rapidly to support the demand for our new product.

"Designed to monitor patients in remote clinics anywhere in the world, the battery-powered Daktari CD4 counter provides the ease of use and low cost needed by many developing and emerging countries around the world. We believe Daktari is well positioned to capture significant market share in the coming years."

Danny Cusick , President, Americas, of Scottish Development International remarked:

"Scotland has a long tradition of innovation—pioneering the MRI and CAT scanners, the discovery of p53 cancer suppressor gene, the cloning of 'Dolly' the sheep and most recently, the potential cure for blindness.

"We have worked closely with Daktari to support their decision to join Scotland's thriving life sciences industry, which currently employs more than 32,000 people.

"Working alongside our partners at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, we will continue to garner global investors with a ambitious growth plans to invest in Scotland. We hope Daktari's investment leads to even more partnerships between the U.S. and Scotland's life sciences sectors and in turn, more life saving discoveries."

Media Contact: Jordan Robinson Agnor , jordan.robinson@aboutdci.com, (212) 725-0707


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SOURCE Scottish Development International
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