× Medicines Discovery Catapult

In March 2020, the UK government announced that it would be launching a national testing effort to support the UK’s fight against coronavirus via the establishment of a network of “mega” testing laboratories, known as “Lighthouse Labs”.

Medicines Discovery Catapult were tasked with the challenge of co-ordinating the creation of the UK’s Lighthouse Labs Network and delivery of one of those labs, based at Alderley Park in Cheshire.

Professor Chris Molloy, Medicines Discovery Catapult CEO, was appointed Director of the UK Lighthouse Labs Network and Professor Peter Simpson, Medicines Discovery Catapult CSO, was appointed Director of the Alderley Park Laboratory.

The Lighthouse Labs take their name from the PCR testing technology which uses fluorescent light to detect the virus.

Universities, research institutes and commercial companies across the UK lent testing equipment and expertise in response to this vital national need.

Work in the Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab

Under the partnership UK Lighthouse Labs, MDC are responsible for running and managing the laboratory at the impressive Alderley Park site in Cheshire, which is the UK’s largest life science campus. Apply for a Lab Scientist role in the Alderley Park lab >

Lighthouse Lab Stories

Lab Story – Megan Smith

“These are extremely tough and uncertain times for everyone, but I wanted to be able to help even in a small way.”

Read more >

Lab Story – Prof Mark Boyd

Mark Boyd is Professor of Molecular Oncology in the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool.

Watch the video >

Lab Story – Joely Irlam-Jones

“I have loved meeting the diverse mix of people volunteering on all the workstations. There is a sense of unity…”

Read more >

Support for the Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab

The Alderley Park Lighthouse has been crucial for our testing program. With it operating at this level we have a testing program that will help with any second wave. Their performance has been exemplary.

Professor Sir John Bell GBE FRS, UK Life Sciences Champion

The speed at which the Alderley Park Lighthouse programme has been set up to operate at this scale is nothing short of remarkable. A huge credit to everyone involved. The ability to accurately process thousands of tests a day, now over one million in total, is crucial to reduce the impact of this devastating pandemic as part of a successful test-trace-isolate strategy.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Welcome Trust