SureScreen Diagnostics is to create up to 1,000 new jobs after agreeing to purchase a new manufacturing centre near the M1.
The Derby-based company plans a phased increase of its workforce up to 1,300 after moving into the new site at Sherwood Business Park, near junction 27, last week.
The expansion follows an order for tens of millions of antigen tests for Covid-19 from the UK government.
SureScreen has been at the frontline in the fight against Covid-19 since the virus first emerged in late 2019. Its antibody and antigen tests have been exported to 53 countries and dependencies in every corner of the world.
Orders for the tests prompted an increase in people from 60 to more than 300 over the course of a year, but with SureScreen’s new site, they believe this will grow given the high levels of demand.
Director David Campbell said: “This is a huge step to increasing our capacity to meet demand, but also to establish one of the best lateral flow manufacturing facilities for the future.
“This will mean incredible growth of the company, which comes with challenges, but we are committed to helping governments and companies worldwide to be on top of Covid-19 and its variants.
“It’s important that we build a platform in the UK to be ready for future healthcare needs, including possible future pandemics and we believe this facility will help to do just that.”
SureScreen’s antigen tests were the first European tests to pass the validation process in the laboratory by Public Health England. Their accuracy was deemed to be excellent, and, as a result, 20 million were ordered by the UK government for its national rapid testing programme.
Meanwhile, the company is still developing other tests including its unique alcohol testing devices for ambulances, and supply of urine diagnostic tests to over half of the GPs surgeries in the country.
Director Alastair Campbell added: “We are very excited about the future of SureScreen Diagnostics.
“This year is the 25th anniversary of the company, and we’ve always been immersed in scientific innovation, motivated by the chance to improve people’s health and well-being through rapid testing.
“We would like to publicly thank our team for their undivided dedication and hard work over the pandemic, but also give credit to the local businesses that have been key partners in this exciting project: DSP (Interiors) Ltd, Smith Partnership, Encore Personnel, NatWest, Bates Weston and FHP.
“Their help in the development of Sherwood Park in a short space of time has been amazing.
“Black and White PR, Mercia Image and Flint Bishop have also been extremely helpful during the last year, and we’ve enjoyed working with the local business community in Derby.”