Avacta and Medusa19: Distribution Agreement for COVID-19 Antigen Test
Product News May 20, 2020
Avacta Group plc, the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, has announced that it has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Medusa19 Limited for direct-to-consumer sales of a saliva-based rapid test for the COVID-19 antigen.
Avacta recently announced a partnership with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences) to develop a saliva-based rapid antigen test to indicate whether a person has the COVID-19 infection which will be in the form of a simple test strip. The test is intended to give a result within minutes and for use by both healthcare professionals and consumers.
The Group has agreed an exclusive distribution agreement with Medusa19 for the supply of the COVID-19 rapid test direct to consumers globally, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals. Medusa19 has been established by Richard Hughes and Mahmud Kamani, both founder shareholders of Boohoo.com and shareholders of Avacta1, to build a global consumer self-testing business. Medusa19’s initial focus will be on COVID-19 home testing and it is currently investing in global e-commerce, logistics and customer support infrastructure in preparation for Avacta’s COVID-19 test launch. Medusa19 will also have non-exclusive rights to supply the tests to businesses for workforce testing. The distribution agreement includes a profit-sharing arrangement.
The global demand for rapid antigen tests, which will be critical to lockdown exit strategies around the world in order to get healthy, non-contagious people back to work, could be many millions of tests per month. There will also be an ongoing need for several years for this type of testing as the disease recurs.
Avacta recently announced that it rapidly developed Affimer reagents that detect the SARS-COV-2 virus spike protein and it has now supplied those to Cytiva for test development. The Group is intending to establish further rapid test strip manufacturing partners in anticipation of a very high demand for the COVID-19 antigen test.