Shares in Avacta (AVCT:AIM) gained 12% to 143p on Monday after the biotherapeutics firm said it had entered into a commercial partnership with Mologic to accelerate its lateral flow Covid-19 antigen test to market.

Avacta was one of the first companies to announce the development of lateral flow tests for Covid-19 using its Affirmer reagents. The antigen tests are designed to give results in minutes without the need for processing at a laboratory.

Chief executive Alastair Smith commented: ‘If the clinical evaluation in Europe is positive, we are ready to move quickly into full clinical validation in Europe and the UK, and subsequent CE marking through Mologic. With this approach it is possible to bring the test to market around the end of the first quarter of this year.’

FASTER MARKET ACCESS

The arrangement will see Mologic transferring a CE mark for professional testing under its existing ISO13485 quality system when Avacta’s antigen test receives accreditation, expected by the end of March 2021.

CE marking indicates a product conforms with health, safety, and environmental protection standards within the European Economic Area. The ISO13484 accreditation specifies that a medical product meets quality standards related to safety and efficacy.

INCREASED CAPACITY

The partnership also provides the company with additional manufacturing capacity through Mologic’s and its partners including Global Access Diagnostics (GAD). This adds to the scaled-up capacity being built with BBI and Abingdon Health (ABDX:AIM).

In total the partnerships will deliver several millions of tests per month with further potential on more investment while Avacta is also in discussions with other UK and overseas manufacturers.

The two companies are exploring combining their respective antigen tests into a single hybrid antigen test, a ‘world first’ which has the potential to deliver an ‘extremely sensitive’ lateral flow coronavirus antigen test.

The UK government has said it is keen to support domestic diagnostic capability and reduce reliance on overseas supplies as it looks to ramp up workplace rapid Covid-19 lateral flow testing.

Diagnostic testing company Omega Diagnostics (ODX:AIM) responded to press speculation that it was one of three UK companies in line to win a government contract today after its shares soared 38% to 96p.

The company said it would announce supply agreements when they are signed. It continues to modify its Alva-based facility to significantly upscale lateral flow test capacity.

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Issue Date: 08 Feb 2021