ITL Announces USA Expansion Plans
ITL (a G&H Company) is a leading industry partner in designing, developing, and manufacturing medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics and other technologies that have been saving lives and leading the way in the medical and life science industry for more than 40 years! Arriving in the United States in 2013, the company is pleased to announce that they have recently signed a new contract lease which will see their facility in Virginia, US, move into a bigger facility within the Hanover Business Center in Ashland, VA, later this year.
Thomas Jull, Vice-President of Operations said: “This move, and expansion is exciting news for ITL and for our customers. It will allow us to meet several immediate market needs, alongside providing us with a space for future opportunities. Ultimately, this investment is a step towards achieving our mid-term objectives for the business.”
Their new space will double their current square footage, providing better segregation between manufacturing workflow stages, in addition to a dedicated warehouse area for the company to stock production parts, as well as storage and a specific area for shipping of products. Melanie Lombardi, Business Development Manager for the US, said: “It’s taken a lot of work to get where we are today, and so now is a great time to be moving to a larger space that will provide us with more warehousing and better logistics options for product stock, as we continue to grow our sales of the equipment here.”
ITL provides end-to-end design and manufacturing services for medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics, and laboratory instruments. Alongside their customers, they create and deliver breakthrough technologies for the healthcare and life science industries.
When first established, ITL Virginia focused primarily on providing limited aftermarket services for the group’s existing UK-based customers; many of whom had previously worked with the company’s headquarters site in Ashford, Kent, and who additionally wanted access to the US market. In time, the Virginia site added additional product repair and services, in addition to undertaking retrofitting, importing, warehousing and distribution operations for its medical instrumentation clients.
The US-based manufacturing at the facility followed suit, later providing domestic customers, and those based in Europe, with a local or stateside option within the ITL company. This was underpinned by the continuous increase in sales of their Vitl Life Science laboratory products range within America direct to users, but also through building a strong US distribution network!
ITL also owns Vitl Life Science Solutions, one of the UK’s leading laboratory instrument manufacturers and lab equipment suppliers. Founded in 2005, Vitl benefits from more than 40 years of experience in the development of high-end medical devices and in-vitro diagnostics. ITL is the legal manufacturer of Vitl Life Science Solutions, with products including heat sealers, temperature-controlled mixers, vortexing equipment, luminescent readers, and laboratory consumables. Vitl’s vast product range is used to help with sample preparation and is sold worldwide!
Thomas commented: “This progressive growth has come organically through serving our existing contract clients who have seen success in launching their own products in the US and who now want to ramp up production volumes here. Additionally, through the past few years of COVID, we’ve seen triple-digit growth in the sales of our own product line, due to increased testing in the industry. We’ve also diversified our portfolio too by getting more involved with the consumables side of Life Sciences testing.”
The Covid-19 pandemic impacted all businesses and industries globally, in one way or another, and every stakeholder within the supply chain has felt the pinch more than ever recently! In an effort to reduce the environmental effects that everyone is facing, ITL has utilized its global supply chain across its three locations, and continents, for procuring the thousands of individual parts required to produce finished products. The company has also adapted its inventory control processes to align with supplier lead times and shortages that they are facing, therefore allowing for a buffer within its operations, providing a steady flow of output for its customers.
Throughout the lockdowns, the company adapted the way in which it marketed and sold its own products, and also how it connected with potential new customers. Melanie explained: “From early 2020, all of a sudden there were no in-person exhibitions or conferences to attend where we could engage with potential customers and demonstrate our products. There were no road trips either, so we had to adapt our strategy from outside sales to inside sales. So we decided to set up a camera in our lab and it became the ‘Vitl Products Virtual Demo Lab’. This has become a successful platform for virtual demonstrations of our equipment over video calls, for sales but also for virtual training and technical support.”
With more than 45 years of business, ITL has engaged in a variety of unique and groundbreaking projects, ranging from small bench top Point Of Care (POC) and In-Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) analyzers that are used to detect different diseases, to large floor standing cancer finding medical devices and therapeutic drug delivery systems, as well as hand-held analyzers used for microbial monitoring. As a company, us able to take on projects at any stage within the product development lifecycle and works with companies ranging from small startups to large well-known corporations.
Thomas, who heads up ITL’s US-based operations, started within the company’s UK-based R&D department 15 years ago, where he concentrated on systems integration and product requirement management, as well as verification and validation testing during the development of client products. “When I started with ITL straight out of college, I remember thinking what an amazing experience it was to be working with the internal and external customer engineering teams on such an array of project types and technologies.” The job role allowed Thomas to work on projects including lasers on ultra-wide field scanning ophthalmoscopes, lab-on-chip and real-time PCR platforms used to detect infectious diseases, the development of a spectroscopic-based system utilising chemometrics to detect toxins within food, as well as the development of several finger prick biomarker detection systems.
Most recently, at ITL Virginia, they have helped to launch a Nitric Oxide in-hale therapy device into the US market for an existing ITL customer, in addition to providing ongoing manufacturing for several devices throughout COVID-19 and undertaken some ‘soft’ preliminary production and distribution roles to assist two customers with obtaining Premarket Approval (PMA) for future projects in the US. Both of these are existing ITL customers, a Lymph Node Location System, and a Liver Transportation Perfusion System.
Thomas recently returned to ITL in February of this year after a six-month hiatus from the company, where he was working as a Quality Assurance Manager for an in-vitro diagnostics manufacturing enterprise that specialized in Automated ELISA Systems. Thomas says: “My recent ‘sabbatical’ from ITL was a good career experience and I got to work with some great new people and interesting technology. However, my time away was also a time of reflection, and after previously being with ITL since 2007 and launching the US-based operations in 2013, I felt like there was unfinished business. And so, it was good to come back with the exciting news of moving shortly after – I am looking forward to ITL’s continued success, globally and in the US.”
Nick Colyer, Managing Director of ITL Group, said: “We see our Virginia site as an area of growth for ITL in the next 3-5 years. This move and expansion will allow ITL and our customers to realise the full potential of the site and the staff. The new facility shows ITL’s commitment to our US team and our willingness to invest in theirs and our customers’ future.”
Ian McCutcheon, Research & Development Director of ITL Group, commented: “It’s fantastic to see ITL Virginia continue to prosper and realise its full potential. This facility will allow further expansion of our services within the US creating a high-quality manufacturing and service centre. This could only have been realised through the hard work and commitment of our employees in Ashland and the continued support they give to our clients!”