THERMO Fisher Scientific is to significantly expand the capacity for specialised sample testing at its Perth plant to cope with the demand for Covid-19 sample testing.
The expansion will create up to 200 full time jobs in this calendar year with plans to complete the expansion in Q1 2021.
The news is the latest in the growth of life sciences jobs in Scotland to cope with the demands of tackling the pandemic.
The added capacity and increased efficiencies will allow the company to scale production in Perth to more than eight million filled tubes per week.
This is in addition to the eight million tubes produced per week at Thermo Fisher’s new manufacturing site in Lenexa, Kansas, US.
The company said that sample collection products are critical to widespread effective testing.
The samples are dispensed into tubes that are used to safely collect and transport clinical specimens that may contain the virus.
This ensures that the sample collected from a COVID-19 nose swab maintains viability while it is sent to a laboratory for processing.
Without the protection of sample collection kits, COVID-19 virus samples could lose their integrity, leading to inaccurate results.
Site leader Stewart Blair said: “With the expansion of our site in Perth, we are continuing to rapidly increase production of sample collection products to meet an urgent national and international demand for COVID-19 testing.
“We are investing in the United Kingdom, for the United Kingdom, and our employees are honoured to support the national effort to reinforce current testing operations.”
Scottish Enterprise managing director Linda Hanna said, “Thermo Fisher’s investment in its expansion and the creation of 200 new jobs in Scotland is very welcome news in the current economic climate.
“We’ve worked with the company for a number of years, initially with its Inchinnan manufacturing site expansion, and we’re pleased to continue this support, alongside our partners, with its Perth expansion.
“This increased production capacity helps demonstrate that Scottish manufacturing can meet the growing demand for Covid-19 testing at home and overseas.
“More importantly, it means Covid-19 samples can continue to be collected and transported safely as part of the global pandemic response.”
Scottish Government trade and investment Minister Ivan McKee, said, “Scotland is already the leading part of the UK outside of London for attracting inward investment.
“This announcement by Thermo Fisher shows the importance of continuing to attract such investment to Scotland, creating high value jobs across the country.
“Thermo Fisher is a huge part of Scotland’s life sciences industry and plays a key role in our response to the COVID-19 crisis supplying test kits, analysers and logistical support to the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow, and NHS labs across the country.
“The planned expansion in Perth will help to meet future demand for testing supplies, and will support Scotland’s economic growth by creating skilled jobs in the life sciences sector.”