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Pioneers of hair drug testing open new venture in Cardiff

The entrepreneurial team who pioneered testing hair samples for drug and alcohol use and built up an £11million business have set up a new venture in Cardiff and aim to replicate that success.
Monday 26 March 2012
Mrs Hart examines hair samples at the lab with His Excellency Mr Roberto Jaguaribe (photo courtesty of Betina Skovbro Photography)
Pioneers of hair drug testing open new venture in Cardiff (photo courtesy of Betina Skovbro Photography)

Their new business, Cansford Laboratories based at Cardiff Medicentre, was officially opened today (Monday March 26) by the Brazilian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Roberto Jaguaribe, who was accompanied by Business Minister Edwina Hart.

Cansford Laboratories’ two directors, Dr Lolita Tsanaclis, who is also the Brazilian Honorary Consul in Wales and John Wicks, developed the concept of hair testing for drugs into a service laboratory that was launched as TrichoTech Ltd in 1997. The business which employed fifty people was sold ten years later for over £11million.

Hair drug testing is a method of drug testing that John Wicks and Dr Tsanaclis introduced into the UK in 1997 that can provide a historical record of substance misuse and is more sensitive in detecting substance misusers than any other method.

Their new state-of-the-art facility in Cardiff aims to make use of the latest technological advances to develop novel ways of processing samples and improving the technology of hair testing to deliver accurate analyses in a much shorter time scale.

Cansford is also exporting its technology internationally. It has developed a partnership with a laboratory in Sao Paulo, to test hair samples for drug use – the first in Brazil and plans a joint venture in Australia with others in the pipeline.

John Wicks, Managing Director of Cansford Laboratories, said,

“We are proud to celebrate the first phase of the development of Cansford Laboratories with the opening of the Laboratory by Mr Roberto Jaguaribe the Brazilian Ambassador.

“Our team has further developed the techniques of hair analysis for drugs such that we can guarantee a completed analysis with three working days. And we are really excited to partner with Chromanalysis in the formation of Chromatox to deliver hair analysis locally to Sao Paulo and Brazil.”

Mrs Hart welcomed the news,

"It’s always good to hear that technology developed in Wales is having an impact in countries around the world and highlights yet again the importance of entrepreneurs and their potential contribution to the Welsh economy. I wish the directors of Cansford Laboratories every success with their latest enterprise.”

The Ambassador is on a five day visit to Wales and met First Minister Carwyn Jones to explore developing closer business, educational and cultural links between the two countries.



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Business and economy 26 March 2012 Economy Programme for Government - Growth South East Wales

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