/List: 7 biotechs that got federal funds to make coronavirus tests – Business Insider

List: 7 biotechs that got federal funds to make coronavirus tests – Business Insider


The federal government on Friday awarded $248.7 million to help seven biotech companies deliver coronavirus testing results faster. 

The National Institutes of Health and other experts sifted through more than 650 applications to select the recipients. The money is intended to increase the number of tests by millions a week as soon as September, the agency said. 

All of the companies getting grants have either applied to the Food and Drug Administration for expedited approval — known as “emergency use authorization” — or already have it. More than 20 other companies’ tests are still being considered for future awards. 

The NIH launched its program to find faster coronavirus tests through its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics initiative, known as “RADx.” The initiative was funded through a $1.5 billion federal stimulus. 

The announcement to expand testing comes as several news outlets have reported that people are waiting as long as 10 days to get the results of their coronavirus tests. While they wait, they risk infecting others, and by the time they find out the result of their tests their illness may have subsided. 

Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary, said in a statement that thanks to the funds more results would be delivered “within minutes” after a test. He said the fast testing would be particularly important in schools and nursing homes. 

Read more: 55 million kids are stuck at home, and the US economy is losing $50 billion a month: Inside the DC clash over how to help schools reopen safely

The companies receiving the awards range from small startups to large, publicly traded companies. The NIH didn’t detail how much each company received.

Here are the seven companies getting government funds and how their tests work.

Mesa Biotech

The San Diego-based startup’s Accula test uses throat or nasal swabs to deliver results within 30 minutes. Mesa received $561,000 from HHS to develop its test and it has already been received an emergency use authorization. 

Accula coronavirus test

Accula coronavirus test.

Courtesy of Mesa Biotech


Quidel’s Sofia 

The Sofia SARS Antigen FIA test provides results within 15 minutes after collecting samples using nasal swabs. Quidel is based in San Diego and was first to receive emergency use authorization for its test. 

Talis Biomedical

The company’s One COVID-19 test delivers results within 30 minutes. Talis is based in Menlo Park, California. 

Ginkgo Bioworks

The Boston-based synthetic biology company is creating technology that will allow it to process tens of thousands of tests at once. Ginkgo says it’ll scale up to 50,000 tests a day by September and 100,000 per day by the end of the year. 

Helix OpCo

The company will ship kits to public health departments, workplaces, and hospitals to collect nasal swabs and then process them within two days. Helix, based in San Mateo, California, is expected to process up to 50,000 samples a day by the end of September 2020 and 100,000 samples a day by the end of the year. 

Read more: Moderna and other top coronavirus drugmakers are boosting their lobbying as they compete for government cash to fuel vaccine work

Fluidigm

The San Francisco-based company will process hundreds of thousands of saliva coronavirus tests a day using fluidic chips. 

Mammoth Biosciences

Mammoth Biosciences, based in San Francisco, uses CRISPR technology to deliver results from its SARS-CoV-2 DETECTR assay.

The science team behind Mammoth Biosciences

The science team behind Mammoth Biosciences.

Mammoth Biosciences


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