AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and University of Cambridge to launch laboratory to boost Covid-19 testing
A joint collaboration between AstraZeneca, GSK and the University of Cambridge has been forged to support the government’s five-pillar plan to boost Covid-19 testing.
The trio will set up a new testing lab at the Anne McLaren Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine for high throughput screening for Covid-19 testing.
It will also explore the use of alternative chemical reagents for test kits in order to help overcome current supply shortages.
Professor Stephen Toope, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: "I am proud to announce that the University of Cambridge is collaborating with AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline to support the national effort to boost the country’s Covid-19 testing capacity.
"As part of the UK government’s plans to enhance diagnostic capacity, we are working with these two industrial partners to set up a new testing laboratory at the University’s Anne McLaren laboratory, on our biomedical campus. This facility will enable quicker, larger-scale testing for Covid-19.
"Crucially, it will also contribute to the development of alternative chemical reagents for test kits to help overcome current supply shortages."
AstraZeneca and GSK are also working to provide optimisation support to the UK national testing centres in Milton Keynes, Alderley Park and Glasgow.
AstraZeneca said in a statement: “While diagnostic testing is not part of either company’s core business, we are moving as fast as we can to help where possible – with a focus on providing our world class scientific and technical expertise – working both with the government’s screening programme and alongside the wider life sciences sector and specialist diagnostic companies.”
The government's plan was to carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April.
The testing laboratory set up by AstraZeneca, GSK and the University of Cambridge has the aim of carrying out 30,000 tests a day by the start of May.
Health minister Lord Bethell said: “We are rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS and, ultimately, save lives.
“I am proud that we have already had an impressive response from companies of different scales and from different sectors coming forward with a commitment to work together, share expertise and resources to establish a large British diagnostics industry which can help us achieve 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.
“We will do everything we can to tackle this virus and we are pooling all the resources from our world-leading life sciences industry, top universities and clinical leaders to overcome this together.”