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New Welsh Lighthouse Lab facility to create 200 jobs
The Welsh Government and Life Sciences Hub Wales are supporting plans to build a 200-strong team of specialists at a new soon-to-be-launched Lighthouse Lab, which is set to create additional capacity for the UK’s Covid-19 testing strategy.
The facility at Imperial Park in Newport is in partnership with multinational diagnostics company PerkinElmer, which has been engaged to deliver, staff, and manage the site. It will also provide the key technology within the lab and its Covid-19 testing kits, which can identify if a patient currently has a positive or negative result for the virus.
Led by the Department for Health and Social Care, a series of partnerships has established a network of Lighthouse Labs across the country to increase the number of coronavirus tests that can take place each day. The Newport facility will be the fifth major testing lab in the UK, with additional sites in Milton Keynes; Alderley Park, Cheshire; Glasgow; and Cambridge.
With the process of constructing the new lab underway, PerkinElmer has launched a recruitment campaign to secure over 200 highly skilled personnel that will allow the lab to process Covid-19 tests samples seven days a week.
The Lighthouse Lab in Newport is recruiting for those with experience of performing biological assays in a scientific research or diagnostic laboratory, in either a work or study environment. In addition to senior roles, the labs will also provide opportunities for graduates and those who are pursuing careers in the life sciences.
Lord Bethell, health minister, said: “I am hugely proud and absolutely delighted to announce the addition to our network of this new Lighthouse laboratory based in Newport. The UK Government has already vastly expanded the nation’s testing capabilities, more than doubling the existing capacity of our NHS and PHE laboratories. This rapid expansion means we now have the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities in British history, a huge achievement.
“I want to pay tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to deliver this, particularly those in Wales. They have been crucial partners in scaling up the UK’s testing capacity over the last 4 months and will continue to be as we fight against this virus.”
PerkinElmer has already played a vital role in developing Wales’ Covid-19 testing capacity, sourcing Covid-19 specific testing kits and advanced virology lab equipment that enabled the development of Public Health Wales operated testing facilities.
Following that success, activity then moved on to exploring how PerkinElmer could support with the development of a UK Government funded Lighthouse Lab in Wales.
Cari-Anne Quinn, chief executive officer at Life Sciences Hub Wales, said: “PerkinElmer’s continued work to develop Covid-19 testing capacity in Wales is a clear demonstration of the world-class life sciences industry that exists here. This project will enhance and grow the sector in Wales, providing an opportunity to develop and train life science professionals for the future. We fully support PerkinElmer in recruiting those with the specialist expertise and experience required for the UK’s latest Lighthouse Lab.”