Welsh Government and Life Sciences Hub Wales are supporting plans to build a 200 strong team of specialists at Wales’ soon to be launched Lighthouse Lab, which is set to create additional capacity for the UK’s Covid-19 testing strategy.
Work to establish the UK Government’s Lighthouse Lab at Imperial Park in Newport is underpinned by a partnership with multinational diagnostics company, PerkinElmer Inc., a global leader committed to innovating for a healthier world.
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.
Health Minister, Lord Bethell 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.”
Wales’ Lighthouse Lab is being established by one of the world’s foremost diagnostics companies, PerkinElmer Genomics, which has been engaged to deliver, staff, and manage the facility. The company will also provide the key technology within the Lighthouse Lab. At the heart of the testing process are PerkinElmer’s Covid-19 testing kits, which can identify if patient currently has a positive or negative result for the virus.
Welsh Government Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “This recruitment campaign will see 200 important jobs being created here in Wales which will be crucial in supporting our overall testing strategy and providing a boost to the Welsh economy at a very difficult time.
“I am pleased the Welsh Government and Life Sciences Hub Wales are supporting the recruitment process for this first-class facility alongside world renowned company PerkinElmer. The Lighthouse Lab network will be vital in supporting Wales, and the UK as a whole, as we continue to deal with coronavirus. It will also help ensure we have a strong pool of life science professionals now and in the years to come.”
PerkinElmer have already played a vital role developing Wales’ Covid-19 testing capacity, as their initial response to an industry call to action issued by Life Sciences Hub Wales, resulted in the company 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, CEO, 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.”
With the process of constructing the brand-new lab underway, PerkinElmer has also 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.
To build a team that will serve as a critical component in COVID-19 testing, 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.
Miles Burrows, Managing Director for UK and Ireland, PerkinElmer said – “This partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care will allow a team headed by PerkinElmer Genomics to apply decades of experience in screening and state-of-the-art clinical genomics programmes to boosting Covid-19 testing capacity in Wales and the Lighthouse Lab network.
“The lab will be stocked with the advanced equipment required and collaboration with partners like Life Sciences Hub Wales during the recruitment process will assist us to draw on the collective strength and specialist talents from Wales’ well-establish life sciences sector.”
PerkinElmer Genomics combines newborn screening with a full-service genomic laboratory, offering one of the most comprehensive programs globally for detecting clinically significant genomic changes. With its integrated network of high throughput laboratories in the U.S., India, Malaysia, and China, PerkinElmer Genomics maintains one of the largest databases of known genetic variations from different ancestries worldwide.
Under PerkinElmer’s management, Wales’ Lighthouse Lab will provide further additional testing capacity for NHS Wales.