Facilities at Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park will open for testing next week as part of a Government drive to increase capacity by establishing dedicated laboratories across the country.
The work will be carried out from the headquarters of Medicines Discovery Catapult, a national science incubation network that works alongside industry, academics and regulators to develop new ways of discovering and using medicines.
The organisation, which will oversee the testing operations, occupies around 20,000 sq ft of space at Alderley Park, a 1m sq ft life sciences and business campus at Nether Alderley, between Macclesfield and Knutsford.
The Government announced the establishment of large-scale national Covid-19 hub laboratories across the UK last week, with the initial three to be located in Cheshire, Milton Keynes and Glasgow.
The Milton Keynes laboratory is already operational, following the conversion of the National Biosample Centre in an industrial area between Old Farm Park and Walton Park.
Glasgow University’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus is being used for the third centre, with thousands more tests being enabled as a result, according to the Government.
Each new facility will be staffed round-the-clock by medical professionals and volunteers including molecular scientists, technicians and bioinformaticians.
At Alderley Park, universities, research institutes and companies are lending testing equipment to the new laboratory. Samples will be delivered to the hub laboratories from across the country for analysis.
Bruntwood SciTech, a 50:50 joint venture between Manchester-based developer Bruntwood and investment manager Legal & General, operates the Cheshire science park after Bruntwood purchased the site from pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca in 2014.
Dr Kath Mackay, managing director of Bruntwood SciTech at Alderley Park, said: “At Alderley Park we have the infrastructure and network of expertise that the Medicines Discovery Catapult needs to launch this critical facility, and we are proud to be working together with the wider science community on such a vitally important project.”
And Professor Chris Molloy, chief executive of Medicines Discovery Catapult, added: “The immense effort by so many partners to establish these national hub laboratories will provide vital information on the level of COVID-19 infection across the UK, and demonstrates innovative medical science being delivered at scale.
“We are well placed to lead the establishment of the hub laboratory at Alderley Park, bringing together the scientific, clinical and industrial know-how from many organisations, and engaging a skilled local workforce, to support increased capacity COVID-19 testing.”