Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, unveiled a plaque in a ceremony that marked the official opening of the 1,900 square-foot Manchester facility of Trimega Laboratories, the leading substance abuse testing company.
Trimega has invested approximately £1 million in the state-of-the-art laboratory, which is located in the Hexagon Tower, Blackley. The company currently employs 42 people, with 10 based at the Hexagon Tower and plans to hire a further 10 staff this year in Manchester.
Attended by representatives from major clients, which include local law firms, social services and adoption agencies, Trimega’s launch also hosted the High Commissioner of South Africa in the UK, Dr. Zola Skweyiya, and the renowned global experts on hair testing technology, Professor Fritz Pragst and Dr. Hans Sachs, former President of the Society of Hair Testing (SOHT) and a leading expert in this field whose expertise has been called on for many high profile legal matters, including the Harold Shipman case.
Hair testing is a ten year old technology that is vital to protecting children from parents and guardians with alcohol and drug dependencies. Hair testing can detect patterns of alcohol consumption over a period of many months as opposed to more traditional methods which only register consumption within the space of just a few days. It is a fast-growing industry with an estimated 20,000 hair alcohol and drug tests requested in UK child custody cases each year.
Trimega’s Hexagon Tower laboratory includes world-class substance abuse testing technology that can determine patterns of alcohol or drugs consumption for periods longer than three months. The lab also includes a suite from where Trimega will provide complimentary training for solicitors and barristers who wish to learn more about the technicalities of hair testing in the legal process.
After speeches by Trimega’s South African-born founder and CEO, Avi Lasarow, and Sir Richard Leese, Trimega presented a cheque for £5,000 to Judy Birchall from the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC). The NACCC is the supporting membership body of 350 centres across England where children of separated families can have contact with their non-resident parents and other family members in a comfortable and safe environment. After the unveiling ceremony, the attendees were given a tour of the laboratory.
Avi Lasarow, CEO of Trimega Laboratories, said: “We are very proud to be at the forefront of the hair alcohol testing and forensic toxicology industries, which are improving the lives of many children across the country, and we are delighted to open our new laboratory in the Hexagon Tower. There is a wealth of biotech talent in Manchester and the Northwest and we look forward to building our team here in the coming months and years.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Trimega is a world-class firm and this expansion is very welcome and represents excellent news for the local area and the city. It embeds our reputation as a city that is at the cutting edge of the hi-tech industries. We look forward to the ongoing success of the company and the positive impact it will have on our communities in Manchester and across the country.”
Dr. Zola Skweyiya, High Commissioner of South Africa in the UK, said: “Avi has raised the bar for South African entrepreneurs abroad but remains firmly committed to share this technology back home. It has been very rewarding to see him develop Trimega into a world-leading biotechnology company in a period of just five years. This lab cements Avi’s place as a leading global South African entrepreneur. The development of Trimega is significant as it contributes to the determination of both South Africa and the UK to continually develop and improve trade relations.”
Judy Birchall, Northwest Regional Coordinator for NACCC, said: “As an organisation funded entirely by donations, we are delighted to accept such a generous contribution. Trimega has sponsored us before and we are very pleased to extend our relationship further in pursuit of our mutual goal of securing a stable environment for a child to grow up in.”
On Wednesday 2 February, Trimega hosted journalists from across Europe as part of an initiative organised jointly by the UK Trade and Investment department (UKTI) and Manchester’s Investment and Development Agency (MIDAS). The objective of the visit was to showcase the life science industry in Manchester and to promote the city as a high quality investment location for the sector.
The Forensic Science Service considers the ‘Gold Standard’ for reliable drug detection to be laboratory based gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (GC/MS), a test that is possible on hair. Trimega’s new laboratory uses the latest mass spectrometry techniques to accurately determine drug usage to very small detectable levels including High Performance Liquid Chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS/MS) and the gas chromatographic equivalent (GC/MS/MS). These techniques are often referred to as the ‘Platinum Standard’ when compared with traditional GC/MS analysis.