Rapid blood test startup Atomo Diagnostics is playing its part in the fight against coronavirus, signing a deal with French diagnostics company, NG Biotech, to supply up 2.465 million of its rapid, blood-based COVID-19 tests in 2020.
The sale landed as the Sydney-based healthtech venture’s $30 million Initial Public Offer was oversubscribed at 20 cents per share and closed early ahead of the company’s ASX listing in mid-April.
Atomo’s major investors include property developer Lang Walker, former Macquarie Bank CEO Allan Moss, social impact investor Global Health Investment Fund and Canada’s sovereign Grand Challenges Canada fund. The cash injection from the IPO will be used to speed up production expansion to meet anticipated ongoing demand for Atomo’s test devices for COVID-19. The company only announced a fortnight ago that it was pivoting to COVID-19 using the technology it developed to test for HIV.
NG Biotech is an existing Atomo customer and its the initial order is for 397,200 devices, which can give the results in 15 minutes.
The Atomo rapid test device already has both professional and self-test approvals in Europe as an HIV screening rapid test and its HIV Self-Test is the only HIV product approved in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for self-test use.
Atomo co-founder and CEO John Kelly said the company’s track record on a rapid test for HIV stood it in good stead with healthcare providers, regulators and to the market.
“We are delighted to be able to now deploy our products with our OEM partner NG Biotech in the fight against COVID-19 and believe that widespread access to easy-to-use professional use and self-tests are critical to that fight,” he said.
“We are continuing technical and commercial discussions with three additional diagnostic companies for further commercialisation of COVID-19 tests using Atomo’s rapid test devices.”
In 2016, the startup received a $3.6 million (US$2.6 million) grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help it develop its HIV self-test.