The rapidly evolving marketplace around a vaccine for COVID-19 and ongoing management has taken another turn in the right direction with biotech company AnteoTech (ASX: ADO) readying for clinical trials of their Antigen Rapid Test (ART) which can be done using just a person’s saliva sample.
The ART is another medical advancement in the market which is currently reliant on testing via a Q-tip sample obtained through the nose – a somewhat invasive process – whereas AnteoTech’s ART can be completed in under 15 minutes with just a saliva sample.
With consistent results from internal testing where the ART has successfully identified the COVID-19 antigen from saliva, AnteoTech has now locked in the ART design with clinical trials to commence next week in Australia.
“This is an exciting and timely development in the rollout of our COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test. A saliva test is a less invasive and more comfortable test for patients, and only a few have been successfully developed and commercialised,” said AnteoTech CEO, Derek Thompson.
“The next phase is to validate our results in a clinical trial, and we are now seeking trial sites and collaboration partners for this step. If the results of the saliva trial are favourable and available in time, we are aiming to submit an approval application to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for a COVID-19 ART test capable of using either/or saliva and nasopharyngeal swab samples.”
With the design of the test now confirmed, AnteoTech is preparing for a commercial rollout of the test and is now deep in the procurement process for key manufacturing contracts. The Company also expects international markets to be critical customers of the ARTs given the COVID-19 wave currently sweeping across Europe. Addressing these markets, AnteoTech has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Spanish company Operon which would allow manufacturing to concurrently take place in Europe pending relevant regulatory approvals there.
With global expectations of a COVID-19 vaccine expected to be released publicly within the next 12 months, ongoing testing will play a vital role in virus eradication and will be driven by non-invasive testing that can be accessed quickly and en-masse.
ADO shares reacted well to news of the testing design freeze to reach a high of $0.105 in morning trade, a rise of 32.9% on their previous 0.079 close.