Kromek buys up California tech firm Nova

PIONEERING North East technology firm Kromek has given itself an outpost in America by snapping up Californian technology company Nova.

PIONEERING North East technology firm Kromek has given itself an outpost in America by snapping up Californian technology company Nova.

The Durham University spin-out, which is developing devices aimed at detecting potential terrorists at airports, spent several months in discussion with its US target before sealing an acquisition deal which is funded partly with cash and partly with stock.

Nova specialises in the development of integrated circuits, instruments and imaging systems which are used in the medical, security, industrial and astrophysics sectors. The 26-year-old company, which employs 10 staff, provides products which are adapted for uses, including x-ray imaging systems and security scanners.

It operates in a similar area to Kromek, which was founded in 2003 as Durham Scientific Crystals and is currently developing digital colour imaging for x-rays and 3D imaging for security and defence. Its valuation reached £52m this year from less than £500,000 at its conception, and it was forecast to generate more than £12m revenue in the next 12 months.

The deal will allow Kromek to pool the technology of the two companies to make further advances in sectors such as security.

Arnab Basu

Kromek CEO Arnab Basu said: “Nova is in a very similar field but it’s part of the supply chain. We already use some of its products in our own technology.

“I think it reaffirms our commitment to the US market. It provides us with a physical presence.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in the US developing relationships and partners but now we have the physical presence in the US as well as increased capability and technology.”

Basu confirmed that former Nova CEO and president Dr Tumay Tumer would also stay on as chief scientist. Kromek praised his skills in the fields of multispectral imaging and detection. Nova has 22 patents in the fields of imaging and radiation detection.

Dr Tumer said: “Nova’s existing technologies complement Kromek’s offering perfectly, creating a cutting-edge, world-leading combination.”

Kromek has expanded over the last few years to become a company employing nearly 50 people. While Basu says no additional acquisitions are imminent, he did not rule out further deals.

He said: “Our growth model is based on growth through partnerships but also through acquisitions. But the opportunity has to be right.

“We’re acting in the US, Europe and Asia and will continue in our efforts to develop these markets. For new technology, the US has always been an early adopter and a major market. We expect it to be a very good year. We had delays over the last year due to the readiness of the market because of the ongoing regulatory process in the security sector. We’ve grown continuously over the last few years and we don’t expect that to change.”

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