AgPlus Diagnostics wins over £230,000 in UK Government grants for COVID-19 diagnostic test development
AgPlus has been awarded three government grants to develop its two COVID-19 assays, one for antigen detection and a serological assay to monitor immune response. £50,000 was awarded by Innovate UK & £185,000 by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)The breadth of the grant funding will facilitate the development of both tests and applications for regulatory approval.
A critical unmet need is the ability to test for COVID 19 infection at point of sample collection, in an easy to use system that does not require specialised sample preparation and will give a fast (<10mins) and accurate result. This need is vital in care homes, doctors’ surgeries, sport, transport and office hubs.
Given the apparently high proportion of asymptomatic infections, it is also important to measure the number of people that have actually had COVID-19. AgPlus’ fast, quantitative serological assay will enable population screening and monitoring to determine the full epidemiology of the disease and will also support vaccine and drug development by monitoring antibody response to treatment.
AgPlus is making good progress in developing these assays and has already announced the results of early clinical trials of the serological assay showing specificity >98% and sensitivity >97%, with a total test time – including sample collection – of <15 mins. AgPlus won an initial grant in response to Innovate UK ‘s call for business-led innovation in response to global disruption. Innovate UK is the Government department that works with UK businesses driving innovation and development.
Further success has been achieved from the DASA’s call for COVID-19 projects through an application for reader, sensor and software development. DASA are looking for innovative ideas to improve the defence and security of the UK.
These grants will allow us to finalise our assays on our new Eibis tube assay platform and subsequently to transfer the tests onto sealed cartridge Agilis™ platform.