1 million tests later: partnership with Dundee company turns scientific business model “on its head”

Ryan Watson, CEO, Entrust Resource Solutions

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A PARTNERSHIP between a preventative health company and a specialist life sciences recruitment consultancy has resulted in a trailblazing approach to the scientific business model and provided support to some of the UK’s most critical sectors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cumbria-based Circular1 Health launched its COVID Response Programme in May 2020, with the objective to protect 1000s of workers for a major defence contractor – as well as others within the nuclear and energy sectors – via rapid, high-accuracy COVID-19 testing.  

Up to 10,000 of the company’s proprietary LAMPWorX tests were undertaken and processed per week at each of its unique mobile testing labs, allowing vital work to continue in relatively remote locations across the UK.  In addition, a corporate travel testing service was created to support healthcare organisations and business travel companies, with both services resulting in the delivery of over 1million tests since inception.  

The workforce required to deliver such a staggering volume of activity was resourced by Entrust Resource Solutions (ERS). Experts in “bench to board” life sciences talent resourcing, the company -which is headquartered in Dundee – was responsible for the recruitment of over 250 individuals, providing the means for the company not only to fulfil demand for its services but to continue a strategy of research and development to create a preventative health programme designed to improve the heath profile across all industries and communities.  

Discussing the unprecedented circumstances which have allowed Circular1 to grow at an unusual rate, CEO Stuart MacLennan says he is incredibly proud of the results achieved in just 18 months and the workforce created in partnership with ERS.  

He adds: “The global pandemic has absolutely challenged the scientific community’s traditional modus operandi, giving us the opportunity to innovate as never before, doing all we can to help.  

“The uncertainty and the urgency of the situation have allowed Circular1 to turn the process of concept, validation and market entry on its head. The need for ongoing operations within some of the UK’s mission-critical functions was immediate and being unfettered by traditional processes, we have grown at an exponential rate whilst delivering the most efficient, highest-accuracy testing available.” 

Ryan Watson, CEO of ERS comments: “Less than two years old, Circular1 already operates as a well-established business and it has been a privilege to partner with them on such an influential project, which has also acted as catalyst for the development of our own processes and procedures.  

“Stuart and his team have risen to the challenge of building this business without preconception of the talent required. By providing comprehensive training and support, that approach has proven highly successful, evidenced by over 65% of originally-temporary staff now holding permanent positions within the company.” 

This ethos of inclusivity has also resulted in one of the most diverse life sciences workforces ERS has resourced, with over 20 countries represented, a 55/45% female-to-male ratio and an almost exclusively female management team. And as Circular1 continues to develop its focus upon preventative health care, it has committed to safeguarding the future of the UK Life Sciences sector in this way, via the creation of an Academy aimed at building a young, engaged life sciences workforce.  

Ryan concludes: “The critical shortage of life sciences talent within the UK was well documented pre-COVID 19 and is unlikely to improve without significant action. Circular1’s Academy, which aims to build the next generation of sector professionals is one of the very best solutions I have seen, encapsulating the company’s innovative approach and focusing upon the next phase of the global health agenda.” 

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