A FIRM producing worldleading anti-terrorism technology has established a foothold in the US after buying a Californian firm.

Kromek, based at NetPark science park, in Sedgefield, County Durham, has bought Nova R&D Inc, which specialises in the design, development and production of imaging detectors, sensors and systems for security, medical and industrial purposes.

Kromek, a spin out company from Durham University in 2003 and formerly known as Durham Scientific Crystals, also works on medical imaging and the use of x-ray imaging for industrial inspection purposes.

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But is best known for pioneering an airport scanner that can identify liquids in bottles, including explosives, alcohol and narcotics, without opening them, in less than 20 seconds.

The Durham firm believes Nova, which employs about ten people and holds 22 patents in the fields of imaging and radiation detection, would add to its own expertise.

The cost of the deal has not been revealed but it is known that it was part-cash, partstock.

Dr Tumay Tumer, former chief executive of Nova and originator of the majority of the technology and patents, will stay on as chief scientist.

Dr Arnab Basu, Kromek’s chief executive, said: “It is fantastic.

“We believe and absolutely understand that the US is a big market both from the security point of view and our global market view.

“Having a presence in one of those large markets is absolutely essential.

“This is our first foray into establishing a physical presence in the US and we hope to grow both there and in the UK.

“We are proud to now be at the global forefront of the imaging and detection market, which has so many industrial applications.

“I think it came up at the right time. But our growth strategy encompasses both organic growth and growth with partnering in various ways, which includes acquisition, so if similar opportunities arise we will take a decision then.”

Mr Basu believed the success of Kromek showed the value of university spin outs.

He said: “Kromek is an example of how technologies in universities can be brought into the commercial world.”

He believed hi-tech, knowledged-based businesses would have an important role to play in the future prosperity of the UK economy as an area where this country could “retain an edge”.

Dr Basu said: “We plan to significantly contribute to UK plc as we grow and develop as a business.”