Censo Biotechnologies, a specialist biotech company, has announced today (Tuesday 7th April 2020) they are working with NHS Scotland to provide testing for a minimum of 15,000 samples per month for COVID-19.
The first Scottish company to work with the NHS offering direct testing support for COVID-19, Edinburgh based, Censo Bio have offered the use of their team and laboratory at Roslin, equipped with 7 PCR machines. Each machine is capable of running 600 samples.
Established in 2005, Censo Biotechnologies research is focused on using stem cell technology to enable the discovery and development of new targeted treatments for neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases including Alzheimer’s and Motor Neurone Disease.
Mike Hawthorne, Censo Biotechnologies CEO, said: “As soon as mass testing was recommended by the World Health Organisation, we knew we could offer significant support to deliver this. While we are continuing our existing research with a skeletal staff every available resource is being directed to the COVID-19 effort.”
Censo Bio has offered the use of their 25 strong work force of scientists to support NHS Scotland labs where possible. The company also has a presence in Cambridge where they have donated PPE to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the main COVID-19 testing site for the Cambridge area.
Censo Bio are ready to test as soon as the data handling logistics have been devised by NHS Scotland.
Mike Hawthorne, added: “We are also working on developing a potent anti-viral cell therapy that would work for any similar virus emerging in the future, something the WHO has warned will likely happen again. This therapy could potentially cure the infection in around 12 hours and while it won’t be available in time for COVID-19 with enough funding and government input it is something that could be developed and stockpiled in readiness.”
First pioneered in 2006, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology makes it possible to create stem cells in the laboratory from any person who donates a skin or blood sample. The stem cells can then be transformed into brain, heart and many other types of cell so that, for stem cells created from individuals suffering from a disease, researchers are then able to replicate the disease under laboratory conditions. This “disease in a dish” research is creating the means to study the early stages of many diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which was previously not possible.
For more information about Censo Biotechnologies visit www.censobio.com.