Millions of Covid-19 test tubes will be produced in Perth every week under a firm’s expansion plans that will create 200 new jobs.
Perth will become one of the key global sites in the fight against the pandemic as Thermo Fisher Scientific ramps up production.
Based at Auld Bond Road, the life sciences company plans to expand its facility to manufacture eight million tubes used for test samples each week.
The tubes ensure samples collected from a Covid-19 nose swab maintains its viability while it is send to a laboratory for processing.
“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,” said Stewart Blair, site leader and director of European prepared media operations for Thermo Fisher.
“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.”
Thermo Fisher supplies tubes, analysers and logistical support to the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow and NHS labs across the UK.
The expansion plans are due to be completed by the end of March.
It will see the footprint of the factory increase by 39,000 sq ft over two floors that will contain highly automated manufacturing and warehousing equipment.
The size of the financial investment has not been disclosed by the company.
Scottish Government Innovation Minister Ivan McKee, said: “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.”
Linda Hanna, managing director at Scottish Enterprise, said the jobs boost for Perth was “welcome news in the current economic climate”.
She added: “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.”
In support of the site expansion, the Perth and Kinross Council helped the project through the planning and building warrant process, getting planning in place in record time.
Murray Lyle, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said: “I am delighted that Thermo Fisher are expanding their production facility and investing in Perth, boosting the local job market and economy.
“However, we must acknowledge the circumstances in which this expansion has become necessary.
“The medical testing equipment Thermo Fisher manufactures is vital and as we continue to move forward with returning to as normal a way of life as possible this equipment will be more important than ever.”
Perth City North councillor Harry Coates said the council would support the company to complete their expansion plans quickly.
He said: “I would like to thank council officers for their hard work supporting the company and other agencies, which has helped to make this happen.
“We’ll continue working closely with Thermo Fisher to ensure that the expansion can move forward as quickly as possible.
“We are committed to supporting economic growth and making sure Perth and Kinross is open for business.”
Councillor John Rebbeck added: “The creation of hundreds of jobs at a variety of skills sets and levels will create new opportunities for those looking to get into the job market for the first time or re-enter the job market, which is great news for Perth City North and the wider area.”
Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said: “This investment in the facility at Auld Bond Road, but also in local jobs is hugely welcome.
“It really is fantastic to know that the site in Perth is playing a key role in our fightback against Covid-19.”