Scottish biotech firm rises to COVID-19 testing challenge

CNESO laboratory

A ROSLIN-based drug discovery business has announced that they will soon be able to complete 15,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests per month in a bid to help the country combat the virus.

Censo Biotechnologies will repurpose its laboratories in Scotland and Cambridge to process a minimum of 500 diagnostic tests every day after a recent injection of funds from their principal investor, Par Equity, an Edinburgh-based venture capital firm that specialises in high tech businesses

The initiative will support a request from Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who days ago urged the UK life sciences industry to mobilise behind his plan to complete 100,000 tests by the end of April.

Mike Hawthorne, Censo chief executive officer, said:  “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.

“But we are based in the UK and when the COVID-19 crisis emerged we saw an opportunity to help people much closer to home. 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, Par Equity managing partner, said: “We invested in Censo for the long term so I am thrilled that that it will also have such an important short-term impact.”

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