Brisbane-based biotech firm AnteoTech (ASX: ADO) has officially launched its overseas expansion today following a trademark breakthrough in Europe two weeks ago for its low-cost, high-sensitivity rapid COVID-19 test.
The company's 'AnteoBind' technology - originally developed to test for the life-threatening infection Sepsis - already forms part of its customer Ellume's at-home COVID-19 diagnostics platform that is sold to the US, but now the group plans to sell its own product directly in the EU and UK.
Marketed as the 'EuGeni COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test', AnteoTech's single-use, disposable product will be rolled out across Europe where more than 46 million people have contracted COVID-19.
Unlike Ellume's tests which can be sold over the counter in the US at pharmacies such as CVS, EuGeni is currently only marketed as intended for healhcare professionals.
AnteoTech also plans to make the product available by mid-year in Australia, where strict rules are in place that prevent at-home testing for notifiable diseases such as COVID-19.
To fund its European expansion plans, AnteoTech has announced firm commitments to raise $12 million by issuing new shares at $0.26 each, representing a 20 per cent discount to the weighted average over the past 10 days. This will be followed by a $4 million share purchase plan (SPP) opening on 4 May.
Investors appeared undeterred by the capital raising discount however. At the time of writing, shares had surged 12 per cent this morning to $0.465 each.
"AnteoTech now has the necessary financial flexibility to scale up operations and accelerate its roll-out of its EuGeni reader platform and COVID-19 ART test, as well as our growing pipeline of other assay tests which will provide us with a considerable competitive advantage in the current market," AnteoTech CEO Derek Thompson said.
"This is a major milestone for the company, with our sights set on finalising approvals here in Australia and in the US where our technology is already being used by another Brisbane company (Ellume) to target the home test market."
AnteoTech's technology attracted the support of the Queensland Government, which provided a $1.4 million grant to help progress the COVID-19 rapid test through to commercialisation.
Thomson said as well as capturing a large slice of the European rapid test market, AnteoTech was ready to roll out a saliva-based version of the test, ending the need for invasive nasal swabs.
"We believe we have a superior test with high sensitivity and specificity based on our unique AnteoBind technology," Thomson said.
"We will soon enhance this offering with a saliva use case and new COVID-19/Flu A/FluB Multiplex test, which will give us a very strong competitive advantage over other products currently on the market."
Thomson added the company would also be delivering the vital Sepsis test, which is a very time-critical condition that is often missed, resulting in a very high global morbidity rate.
"From very humble beginnings, our very small scientific team has been working around the clock to bring forward this test platform, given its importance in helping to tackle the global pandemic," says Thompson, whose company had less than 20 employees a year ago.
"I also thank the Queensland Government for its contribution to the commercialisation of the test and platform."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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