A drug discovery business has announced that it will soon be able to complete 15,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests per month in a bid to help the country combat the virus.
Biotech rises to COVID-19 testing challenge
Censo Biotechnologies will repurpose its laboratories at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge and at Roslin near Edinburgh to process a minimum of 500 diagnostic tests every day. The tests will enable the NHS to test their staff and tell anxious patients whether or not they are suffering from the virus.
The initiative will support a request from Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has urged the UK life sciences industry to mobilise behind his plan to complete 100,000 tests by the end of April.
Censo has the capacity to rise to his challenge because of a recent injection of funds from their principal investor, Par Equity, an Edinburgh-based venture capital firm that specialises in high tech businesses
Mike Hawthorne, CEO of Censo commented: “As a life science company we have spent 15 years finding ways of improving the lives of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases around the world.
"We were recently able to donate some PPE equipment to Addebrooke’s hospital and when the COVID-19 crisis emerged we saw another opportunity to help people in the UK. We have been working with NHS Scotland for several weeks to see how our team and equipment can be used to run virus testing and we are now finalising exactly how we will work together. Our whole team is delighted to be able to play a part in supporting our hospitals and GPs tackle the crisis.”
Paul Munn, Managing Partner of Par Equity said: “We are excited about Censo as they are global leaders in their field. At this challenging time it is particularly gratifying for both Par Equity and the investors in Censo to see a company in their portfolio supporting the NHS and government in this way. We invested in Censo for the long term so I am thrilled that that it will also have such an important short-term impact.”
Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd (BBT) is responsible for the commercial development of the Babraham Research Campus. The Babraham Research Campus is distinct in its co-location of bioscience companies with the Babraham Institute, a world-renowned research organisation. The Campus provides companies laboratory and office space together with access to outstanding scientific facilities in an ideal geographical location at the core of the Cambridge cluster.