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This article was published 8/1/2015 (2735 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE Winnipeg company whose robotic pharmacy units continue to garner industry-leading rankings has now received full regulatory clearance in Australia ahead of the competition.
Intelligent Hospital Systems makes a fully-automated robotic IV compounding system called RIVA (robotic intravenous automation) that prepares medications for syringes and IV bags in a sterile environment.
It recently received top marks for the second year in a row for pharmacy automation from KLAS, an international research firm that works with thousands of health-care executives and clinicians, gathering data on software, services, medical equipment and infrastructure systems.
The Australian certification makes IHS the only manufacturer in the sector with such regulatory approval.
"It was a big day for all of us," said Niels Erik Hansen, the CEO of the Winnipeg company.
IHS already has a couple of installations of its $1-million-plus RIVA units in Australia, and the approval now clears the way for further progress in that market.
"Australia is definitely coming along," Hansen said. "We are now in the process of setting up an independent distributorship there."
But even with the independent endorsement from KLAS and recognition by pharmacists for enhancing medication and patient safety and increasing efficiency and reducing costs, the company still faces a lengthy sales cycle and a challenging process to convince industry and political leaders in all the countries it's active in that an investment in RIVA makes sense.
There are more than 30 RIVA installations around the world; in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Canada (including one at CancerCare Manitoba) and throughout the United States.
The company has recently established distributorships in the Middle East and Europe and has a few in the works for Latin America.
Hansen said the company is working on a significant project in Latin America. He would not disclose the specific country but said a multi-unit project was in the works.
Last year, the company was acquired by Winnipegger Ed Van Humbeck and his family. Van Humbeck had been a longtime investor in IHS. He is the former owner of Vansco Electronics where Hansen was the former CEO.
Hansen said the new ownership structure has provided the means for the company to continue to expand its market reach and conduct the kind of long-term planning required for such a significant capital expense for its customers.
He said he was excited about the prospects for the future. In 2013, the Winnipeg company entered into a manufacturing partnership with ATS Automation of Mississauga, where all the primary manufacturing of the RIVA units is now conducted.
The company continues to maintain a busy shop in Winnipeg with several dozen employees doing research and development, as well as engineering and software development work.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.