Brisbane-based diagnostics company Ellume has today announced a US$231.8 million (AUD$304 million) agreement to accelerate the US production of its COVID-19 home tests.
The contract, with the US Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will fund the establishment of Ellume's US-based manufacturing facility.
With this new facility Ellume hopes to ramp up production and deliver 8.5 million COVID-19 homes tests to be distributed across the US.
Founded by 2020 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year Dr Sean Parsons, Ellume harnessed its years of development in fluorescent immunoassay technology to find a fast detection solution for COVID-19.
The company's test is the first of its kind for COVID-19 detection authorised by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for both asymptomatic and symptomatic use without a prescription.
With the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reporting that at least 50 per cent of COVID-19 cases are transmitted asymptomatically, Ellume's test will play a crucial role in minimising the spread of the virus in the US.
"Our focus is enabling the US to minimise community transmission and reopen as quickly as possible," Ellume founder and CEO Dr Sean Parsons said.
"We are prioritising our partnership with the US government to mobilise tests quickly and in the most impactful way.
"We will fulfill the order for these tests at the same time as we ramp up the output across our production facilities, creating more possibilities for retail and private institution use in the future."
The new US-based manufacturing capacity builds on Ellume's existing Australian production line which is currently on-track to procure approximately 200,000 tests per day this quarter.
Under the agreement, Ellume will be delivering 100,000 tests per month from the Australian manufacturing facility until the US facility is built. At full capacity, the US facility will be able to produce up to 19 million tests per month.
Earlier this year Ellume sent its first shipment of rapid COVID-19 home testing kits to the US as part of a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative.
The announcement comes as the US is still seeing the number of new COVID-19 cases skyrocket every day.
Just yesterday there were more than 110,428 new infections of the coronavirus in the US. In total, more than 26 million people in the US have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
In response to Ellume's announcement competitor AnteoTech, another Brisbane-based medtech company manufacturing a rapid COVID-19 test, went into a trading halt.
The company expects to resume trading on Thursday 4 February.
Business News Australia
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