BioMedica Diagnostics Inc. is expanding to meet the growing demands of their global client base.
Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA),visited BioMedica’s headquarters on Wentworth Road in Windsor Aug. 15 to officially open the privately-owned biotechnology company’s new manufacturing facility.
Addressing a crowd of about 40, including several local politicians representing all levels of government, Valcourt said ACOA gave BioMedica a $500,000 loan to help the company purchase state-of-the-art production equipment, and finance renovations.
The money was used to purchase an automated dispensing, filling and capping machine, and an industrial-sized freeze drying unit that has more than doubled production capacity.
Valcourt commended BioMedica founder, CEO and president Dr. Abdullah Kirumira for improving the lives of people around the world by following through with a vision to make affordable diagnostic tools accessible to the masses.
Kirumira is “a model for the corporate citizens in this country who can’t see that there are countries in need,” Valcourt said.
To date, Kirumira’s knowledge of biotechnology has led to 12 inventions, the commercialization of 10 products in laboratory medicine, a vast list of accomplishments and 16 good-paying jobs in Windsor.
One of his inventions, a HIV testing tool that produces fast results without relying on expensive lab equipment, earned Kirumira The Economist magazine’s Sixth Annual Bioscience Innovation Award in 2007.
The ingenuity of the research and development team at BioMedica is becoming known internationally, with customers from more than 50 countries ordering their products. A QuikCoag reagent that can be dropped in blood samples to assess cardiovascular health is one of the more popular products manufactured by the cutting-edge company.
Valcourt joked that BioMedica had the fortunate challenge of struggling to meet demand before the production floor was revamped.
“It goes to show that if we have the right people, the right employees and the right team, wherever we are in rural Atlantic Canada, we can succeed.”
Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris said he hopes budding entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia will see BioMedica as an example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.
“We’re here to celebrate the growth of a local company that’s doing great things.”
The provincial government invested $193,000 in BioMedica last year, Paris noted.
Dr. Kirumira took his time at the podium to provide some comic relief by sharing his father’s thoughts on the grand opening formalities, showing a video introducing his guests to the story of how BioMedica came to be, then personally thanking his business partners.
In a press release issued following Valcourt’s announcement, Kirumira was quoted saying, “What we are doing here in Windsor is proof that ideas are the currency that will create new opportunity for economic growth.”