Omega upbeat on Covid test consortium developments

29 June 2020

(Sharecast News) - Omega Diagnostics updated the market on an announcement from the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) on Monday, developing a Covid-19 lateral flow antibody test that could be used by people in their homes.
The AIM-traded firm had announced on 9 April that it signed a memorandum of understanding with Abingdon Health, BBI Solutions, CIGA Healthcare, and the University of Oxford, to form the UK-RTC to jointly develop and manufacture a Covid-19 rapid test as part of the government's "five pillar" national testing strategy for the coronavirus pandemic.

Abingdon Health, lead partner of the UK-RTC, had now told consortium members that it has attained design freeze for the Covid-19 rapid test.

The next stage was for Abingdon Health to complete verification, validation, transfer the manufacturing protocols to consortium members, and gain regulatory approval, Omega explained.

It said the transfer of the manufacturing process to itself would enable the firm to undertake its own validation work, to prove equivalent performance, and to demonstrate the test could be manufactured at scale to meet the UK government's demand.

Those activities would begin immediately, the board said, and the company said it expected to complete that work by the end of August.

Initially, it was Omega's plan to produce 100,000 tests per week, scaling up to 200,000 tests per week by the end of September.

Based on demand for its wider Covid-19 test portfolio, Omega said it had the flexibility in the use of its overall manufacturing capacity, so that more could be allocated to the UK-RTC if required.

"This key milestone achievement in such a short timescale is a credit to the hard work put in by the consortium, especially Abingdon Health," said chief executive officer Colin King.

"We can now look forward with greater confidence in bringing this important test to market to support the UK and devolved Governments in their fight against this pandemic."

At 1138 BST, shares in Omega Diagnostics were down 2.48% at 47.98p.