As part of its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, NIH is awarding contracts to nine companies for their technologies that include portable point-of-care tests for immediate results and high-throughput laboratories that can produce results in 24 hours.
Yesterday’s announcement follows a July investment in seven companies from NIH worth $248.7 million in new technologies to address challenges with COVID-19 testing.
Some of the testing technologies are also being supported by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) as part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, along with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in the U.S. Defense Dept.
Here are the nine companies receiving funding from the NIH to boost COVID-19 testing capabilities:
- MatMaCorp, Lincoln, Neb.
- A portable mini-lab for rapidly performing multiple RT-PCR assays in a single platform.
- Maxim Biomedical Inc, Rockville, Md.
- A single-use, lateral-flow test strip immunoassay touted as capable of offering results in 15 minutes or less.
- MicroGEM International, Charlottesville, Va.
- A portable saliva test that provides results in 15 minutes and can potentially detect multiple pathogens simultaneously (such as influenza).
- Aegis Sciences, Nashville, Tenn.
- A nucleic acid detection kit using nasal and oral swab samples, offering capacity of 15,000 samples per day with eyes on reaching 60,000 per day. Results return in 24 hours or less.
- Broad Institute, Cambridge, Mass.
- Uses nasal swabs and already performs tests for more than 530 regional hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities in vulnerable communities. The award will help to increase capacity from 25,000 to 100,000 tests per day.
- Ceres Nanoscience Inc, Manassas, Va.
- Uses nanotrap particles to extract and concentrate viral material to reduce processing time and improve sensitivity.
- Illumina, San Diego, Calif.
- Automated sample processing that has a capacity which can be expanded to 48,000 tests per day and can process the tests within 24 hours.
- PathGroup, Nashville, Tenn.
- Uses Roche 6800 and Hologic Panther instruments to process about 10,000 COVID-19 RNA tests per day and aims to increase the capacity to 80,000 per day by December.
- Sonic Healthcare USA, Austin, Texas
- Using specimens from mostly nasal swabs, the capacity can reach up to 166,000 samples tested per day.
“Diagnostic testing is a critical component of the nation’s strategy to meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” NIH director Dr. Francis Collins said in a news release. “Just started at the end of April, the RADx initiative has moved swiftly to speed innovation and later-stage development in the biomedical technology sector. The results thus far have been outstanding.”