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`Medicine reminder' firm moves to region.

Byline: By Howard Walker

A candian company looking to plug a $100bn gap in the pharmaceutical market has relocated its pioneering hi-tech operation in the North-East.

Quand Medical Ltd is developing a system which uses mobile phone technology to remind people when to take their medication and to give them more information about the drugs.

Patient non-compliance is seen as the biggest problem facing the pharmaceutical industry ( patients not sticking to prescription drug regimes costs $100bn a year in the US alone and loses drug companies $30bn of revenue a year.

Quand Medical, founded by Toronto-born Robert Momich (CORR SPELL) and Michael Infuso, has already attracted the attention of drugs giants GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Aventis for its patient compliance technology, which it is now developing in Newcastle after being brought to the region by Codeworks, the North-East digital centre of excellence.

Mr Momich said: "The potential market for this is absolutely massive and the drugs companies are very interested in our work.

"Once we have gone through testing and the product hits the market, you will see a rapid expansion and everything that goes with it. At the moment, there are only two people that form the core of the company, but you would be looking at upwards of 20 to 25 people employed in the first year of production alone."

Under Quand's patented system, the information from a medication label is stored in digital form on to an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded in the paper label.

A patient with an RFID-enabled mobile phone, expected to be standard issue over the next two years, "touches" the bottle with the phone, which then creates a schedule reminding the patient when and how to take their medicine and gives further information about the drug and their medical condition.

Quand expects to have a product ready for testing within five months, before six months of product trials, a process which may involve Newcastle University's medical school.

Mr Momich said: "Using our system will be a win-win for both patient and drug manufacturer ( the patient will benefit by taking their drugs fully and correctly while pharmaceuticals companies ethically increase demand through increased compliance."

Codeworks helped put together the package which led Quand to relocate, backing its successful bid for pounds 60,000 from North Star Equity Investors.

Herb Kim, CEO of Codeworks, said: "Quand Medical is a very exciting development, not only for the North-East, but the UK as well and Codeworks is delighted to have played its part in bringing them here.

"This company and its technology have huge potential on a global scale and already there is significant interest in what they can do for drug companies, both in drugs trials and on a domestic front.

"We believe there is great potential for the creation of jobs and revenues and also for another world-leading technology company to be based in the North-East."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 24, 2005
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