A FIRM has secured £1million to take its x-ray technology onto the global healthcare market and create new jobs at its County Durham site.

IBEX Innovations has developed systems which fit to existing x-ray machines to improve the quality of images and reduce the dose of radiation the patient receives.

The business has just secured investment from the new North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia Fund Managers, and an existing investor, IP Group plc.

Bosses say the funds will enable the firm to finalise and certify the IBEX Trueview product and secure deals with more than five of the top medical imaging suppliers in the next three years.

It will also lead to the creation 13 new jobs at its NETPark premises in Sedgefield.

The technology, which can test for the early detection of osteoporosis, has gone through successful trials with multinational medical imaging companies and at both Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals and South Tees NHS Trusts.

It can also be used in security scanners and in food testing.

IBEX has raised more than £3m in the past to help fund the research and development work.

This latest investment marks a milestone for founder Dr Gary Gibson, who set up the company in 2010 to develop better screening techniques after losing two close relatives to cancer. The company has been led since 2013 by the current CEO Dr Neil Loxley.

Mr Loxley said: "We are delighted to have secured the funding from Mercia and IP Group that will enable us to meet our goal of become a leading provider of x-ray imaging technology to the $15bn medical imaging market."

Ian Wilson, who leads Mercia’s team in the North East, said: “X-ray technology has advanced very little since it was first invented in 1895 and the images are still very basic. IBEX is bringing x-ray systems into the 21st century with enhanced images and improved patient safety. The funding will allow it to roll out its systems into clinics and hospitals and as a result improve patient care considerably.”

Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of The North East Fund, said: “This is the first investment in the Durham area by the North East Fund, which is helping to bring new jobs and economic growth to the North East.”

Sarah Slaven, operations director of Business Durham, said: “IBEX Innovations is a prime example of an innovative, world-class technology company thriving at NETPark, the North East’s premier science park.As one of our longstanding tenants at NETPark, we are delighted to see IBEX Innovations secure funding from the North East Fund to support their latest phase of growth.”