NIH "shark tank" week yields 7 COVID-19 diagnostic testing companies now awarded $2.5 million to scale up rapid lab and point-of-care testing.
As the need for fast, accessible, affordable COVID-19 diagnostics grows more urgent, the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently selected 100 of the best concepts submitted in response to its call for rapid, easy-to-use testing technology and put the sponsors through a one-week "shark tank" evaluation process.
The result? Seven biomedical tech companies will receive a total of $248.7 million in federal funding to accelerate scaleup of new point-of-care (POC) and laboratory-based tehcnologies. The short slide show below offerers a quick look at the 3 focsed on expanding POC testing for COVID-19 and the 4 that plan to increase US lab-based diagnostic capacity to as high as millions per day by the end of 2020.
Mesa Biotech. The Hand-held testing device detects the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2. Results are read from a removable, single-use cartridge in 30 minutes.
Quidel. The test kit detects viral antigen from SARS-CoV2. Electronic analyzers provide results within 15 minutes. The US Department of Health and Human Service has identified this technology for possible use in nursing homes.
Talis Biomedical. Compact testing instrument uses a multiplexed cartridge to detect the genetic material of SARS-CoV2 through isothermal amplification. Optical detection system delivers results in under 30 minutes.
Ginkgo Bioworks. The automated system uses next-generation sequencing to scan patient samples for SARS-CoV2 genetic material. This system will be scaled up to make it possible to process tens of thousands of tests simultaneously and deliver results within 1 to 2 days. The company’s goal is to scale up to 50,000 tests per day in September and 100,000 per day by the end of 2020.
Helix OpCo. By combining bulk shipping of test kits and patient samples, automation, and next-generation sequencing of genetic material, the company’s goal is to process up to 50,000 samples per day by the end of September and 100,000 per day by the end of 2020.
Fluidigm. Microfluidics platform with the capacity to process thousands of PCR tests for SARS-CoV2 genetic material per day. The company’s goal is to scale up this platform and deploy advanced integrated fluidic chips to provide tens to hundreds of thousands of new tests per day in the fall of 2020. Most tests will use saliva.
Mammoth Biosciences. System uses innovative CRISPR gene-editing technology to detect key pieces of SARS-CoV2 genetic material in patient samples. The company’s goal is to provide a multi-fold increase in testing capacity in commercial laboratories.