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Remote controlled hand boost for Touch Bionics

PROSTHETIC limb-maker Touch Bionics has seen a 23% rise in annual revenue and is planning further growth this year.

INNOVATION: Patrick Kane was the first person to be fitted with the company's i-limb bionic hand.Picture: Stewart Attwood.
INNOVATION: Patrick Kane was the first person to be fitted with the company's i-limb bionic hand.Picture: Stewart Attwood.

The Livingston, West Lothian, technology company said unaudited revenue for last year was in the region of £12.3 million amid growing demand for its prosthetic hands and digits as well as the synthetic skin it produces.

As a result, it expects to report "positive" figures on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EDITDA) and is hopeful of recording a small after-tax profit.

Accounts filed at Companies House for holding company Touch EMAS for 2012 showed turnover of £10m. There was an underlying pre-tax loss of more than £588,000, with the figure widening to almost £970,000 once exceptional items had been factored in.

The business said its 2013 growth was boosted by the introduction of the i-limb ultra revolution product, which is said to be the most advanced bionic hand available.

Scottish teenager Patrick Kane became the first person to be fitted with the device, which can be operated by remote control and through mobile device apps, in April last year.

Yesterday, Touch Bionics, which employs around 100 people across Scotland and the US, said more than 4000 of its devices were now installed around the world, with 95% of sales taking place outside the UK.

Ian Stevens, chief executive, said: "We are pleased with our 2013 performance and are looking forward to continued growth in 2014.

"Patients have benefitted from recent enhancements to our technologies, which can restore significant function and self esteem following the trauma of upper limb loss."

In addition to the product launches, Touch Bionics also beefed up its infrastructure and staff across the year.

The LivingSkin division was relocated to a 4000sq ft US production facility in Newburgh, New York state, in January, which was intended to help the company keen up with demand.

The silicone covering is painted to match the tone and appearance of the patient's skin, even down to details such as freckles, hairs and tattoos.

Then in July last year, the company opened a German office while also expanding its European sales team as it was seeing more interest from the likes of Italy, France and Scandinavia.

The senior management team was expanded in October when Caroline Strettong, formerly of Ocutec, joined as vice-president of international operations along with Conal Harte, previously at Trulife, who became European sales director.

A spokesman for Touch Bionics said growth in 2014 would come from a range of sources including expansion in new and existing markets.

He declined to say whether any new products would be launched in the coming months but indicated research and development was continuing and the business "never stands still".

Touch Bionics was founded by inventor David Gow after being spun out of the National Health Service in Scotland during 2003.

In October 2011 it raised £2.5m from the Scottish Venture Fund and the Archangels investment network.

The first recipient of an i-limb hand was Donald McKillop, of Kilmarnock, who was fitted with one in 1997, 30 years after losing his right hand as the result of an industrial accident.

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