Tech firm to create 800 jobs at new Covid scanner manufacturing hub

UK tech start-up UtterBerry has acquired premises in central Leeds to build a manufacturing and innovation hub, creating high skilled jobs in Yorkshire.

UtterBerry, a spin-out from Cambridge University, is known for its AI sensor technology which has been used on national projects like Crossrail, Thames Tideway and London Underground.

Most recently, the company has worked with departments across the UK on projects from 5G in rural Wales, to world-leading smart trays for airport security.

The 20,000 sq ft, four floor manufacturing hub is on Sovereign Street, a four minute walk from Leeds Railway Station.

It will design and manufacture UtterBerry’s contactless Covid-19 symptom scanners, which will work with the Government’s contact tracing system to help avoid future lockdowns.

The scanner, which takes between 10 and 30 seconds to give results, is pending authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) via the Emergency Use Authorization pathway.

It can potentially detect symptoms of other diseases, such as sepsis in children, which will be evaluated in future studies.

The factory announcement comes with support from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Leeds City Council and Santander UK.

When the hub opens in autumn this year, UtterBerry will immediately be generating hundreds of new jobs in Leeds. It aims to create at least 400 full time and 400 part time jobs over the next five years.

UtterBerry says it is looking to fill the vacancies with workers throughout Yorkshire who might have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, or who simply want a career change.

Company founder and CEO, Heba Bevan, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be opening our UtterBerry manufacturing and innovation hub in Leeds.

“There is so much talent in the area, and I want to invest in local people to create the jobs for the future.

“We’re proud to be bringing new and unique jobs to the area and to build the technology of the future in the heart of the city.”

Craig Carter, relationship director, Santander UK said: “UtterBerry has an incredible product and its future business plans are exciting.

“UtterBerry sensors have the potential to revolutionise a wide range of industries. Santander UK is pleased to support UtterBerry in this crucial first step in developing its new manufacturing hub.”

Rishi Sunak (Credit: Flickr / HM Treasury)

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “It’s fantastic news for Leeds that UtterBerry is creating hundreds of new manufacturing jobs, backed by our super-deduction tax relief.

“Our manufacturing sector is one to be proud of and it’s brilliant to see UtterBerry utilising local workers in creating a new manufacturing hub in the North.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “The city already has a thriving digital and tech sector and UtterBerry’s arrival can only strengthen our reputation as a great place for businesses working in the field to locate, collaborate and grow.

“It is particularly pleasing to note this high-profile investment will help unlock the potential of communities in Leeds and play a part in our recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by driving an apprenticeship programme and further skills training.”

Sir Roger Marsh

Sir Roger Marsh, chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11, added: “UtterBerry is one of the most exciting and cutting-edge tech scale-ups in the UK and has chosen Leeds City Region as the location from which to develop and deploy their world-renowned smart technology.

“The LEP has backed UtterBerry from the start, providing ongoing support to ensure their decision to invest here is a success.

“In a move that demonstrates the attractiveness of the region to global tech entrepreneurs, it is a clear signal of the economic resilience and recovery of our region.”