(AIM:AVCT ) has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Medusa19 to supply its rapid antigen Covid-19 test directly to consumers around the world.
Medusa19 was recently established by Richard Hughes and Mahmud Kamani, both founders of Boohoo.com and shareholders of Avacta, to build a global consumer self-testing business.
The group, whose initial focus will be Covid-19 home testing, is currently investing in global e-commerce, logistics and customer support infrastructure to prepare for Avacta's test launch.
Avacta’s saliva-based rapid test for the Covid-19 antigen is intended to give a result within minutes and is intended for use by both healthcare professionals and consumers.
“Medusa19 will enable end-to-end supply of these tests on a global basis subject to regulatory approval and manufacturing capacity which will be key,” said Hughes and Kamani.
“The enormous, world-wide demand for these tests requires a robust and scalable platform which we are in the process of creating,” they added.
Under the agreement, which includes a profit-sharing arrangement, Medusa19 will also inherit the non-exclusive rights to supply the tests to businesses for workforce testing.
Shares in Avacta Group were trading 4.27% lower at 140.25p on Wednesday.
Currently, the use of rapid antigen tests is considered critical to government’s lockdown exit strategies around the world in order to get healthy, non-contagious people back to work.
The global demand could be many millions of tests per month while there will also be an ongoing need for several years for this type of testing as the disease recurs, Avacta stated.
“The potential size of this market, and the expected demand from businesses for workforce screening, is substantial,” said Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group.
“I expect the commercial impact of this partnership to be very significant to Avacta,” he said, adding that the group anticipates rapid growth of tests across the UK, the EU and the US.
The biotherapeutics firm announced in April that it would work alongside Cytiva, formerly known as GE Healthcare Life Sciences, on a Covid-19 point-of-care rapid screening test.
Meanwhile, it recently discovered several Affimer reagents which can detect the Covid-19 virus spike protein and block its interaction with ACE2, a key human cell surface receptor.
The reagents, which were identified as carrying significant potential for a therapy to prevent Covid-19 infection, have now been supplied to Cytiva for further test development.
Avacta added that it intends to establish further rapid test strip manufacturing partners in anticipation of a very high demand for the Covid-19 antigen test.
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Avacta Group is also included in the Vox Covid-19 Crusaders index.
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