Brisbane-based digital diagnostics startup Ellume Health has signed US$231.8 million (AU$305m) deal with the US Department of Defense to build a US factory producing up to 19 million of its rapid Covid-19 home testing kits in a major expansion for the business.
Under the agreement with the new Biden administration, supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Ellume will deliver 100,000 tests a month from its Australian manufacturing facility until the US plant is built.
Ellume designed the first rapid self-test for Covid-19 detection authorised by the US FDA, for both asymptomatic and symptomatic use without a prescription.
With more than 50% of Covid-19 cases are transmitted asymptomatically, Ellume founder and CEO, Dr Sean Parsons said his company’s test will play a crucial role as an essential tool for the US pandemic response.
“Our focus is enabling the US to minimise community transmission and reopen as quickly as possible,” he said
“We are prioritising our partnership with the US government to mobilise tests quickly and in the most impactful way. We will fulfill the order for these tests at the same time as we ramp up the output across our production facilities, creating more possibilities for retail and private institution use in the future.”
The deal includes funding towards Ellume’s US-based manufacturing facility and the delivery of 8.5 million Covid-19 home tests to be distributed across the US.
Ellume’s existing Australian production plant is on-track to procure approximately 200,000 tests per day this quarter. Ellume expects to deliver home than 20 million of its home test kits in the first half of 2021. Ramping up of the plant was supported with a grant from the Queensland government.
The contract with the US government is being led by the DOD’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense in coordination with the DOD Defense Assisted Acquisition Cell and funded through the Health Care Enhancement Act.
In October, Ellume received a US$30 million grant from the US National Institutes of Health to fast fast-track the development of its range of Covid-19 diagnostic tests.
Startup Daily sat down with Dr Parsons late last year to talk about Ellume’s plans. You can watch that interview here.