Scots life sciences firm Omega to make up to 46,000 Covid-19 tests a day

Alva-based medical testing company Omega Diagnostics has signed an agreement to provide manufacturing capability for a Covid-19 antibody test, saying it will produce up to 46,000 of the kits a day.

Omega Diagnostics' flagship Visitect CD4 product, which lets people with HIV test their immune systems. Picture: contributed.

Aim-quoted Omega, whose remit encompasses testing regarding HIV, food intolerance and allergies as well as infectious diseases, has signed a material transfer agreement (MTA) with Mologic.

The development of the Covid-19 first-generation Elisa (Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay) diagnostics test has been funded in part by the UK government, and it will be able to help identify people that have built up immunity to coronavirus.

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Omega has provided Mologic with access to one of its manufacturing facilities (which specialises in manufacturing Elisa tests), in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, and both parties have collaborated to produce pilot batches and first validation batches. Omega said the MTA formalises its access to raw materials and know-how to manufacture Mologic’s diagnostic test at scale.

“Following successful independent validation of Mologic’s Elisa test by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London, Mologic has now submitted its test to Public Health England and NHS Scotland for formal validation,” the Scottish firm said”

Omega will also CE Mark the test under the MTA, after which both parties will work together to commercialise it.

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The Scottish firm also stressed that the Mologic tie-up is separate from, and additional to, the announcement made by the company on 9 April relating to the UK Rapid Test Consortium, which is to jointly develop and manufacture a point-of-care Covid-19 lateral flow antibody test that could be used at-home, and which will be manufactured in Omega’s Alva facility in Scotland.

Mologic’s Covid-19 Elisa diagnostic test is also an antibody test but will be used on patient samples sent by hospitals or GPs for laboratory testing. There is currently demand for both at-home and laboratory-based tests.

Omega chief executive Colin King said: “We are pleased that Omega has been able to support Mologic with the development and scale up of their Elisa test. This is another example of the UK diagnostics industry working in collaboration to bring effective solutions in the fight against this global pandemic.”Research analysts Mark Brewer and Arshad Ahad at FinnCap said they understand that Omega will sell the test, which could be available within a couple of weeks.

They also estimate that Omega’s production capacity implies potential revenues of £15 million to £30m a year, adding that the global market is set to be for hundreds of millions of tests, potentially.

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