QLD biotech to export first COVID tests to US
Brisbane-based biotech Ellume has ramped up production of its COVID-19 test kits and next week will begin sending its groundbreaking rapid home test products to the US
Last month the US Food and Drug Administration approved Ellume's at home COVID-19 blood test - the first of its kind in the world - which can detect the highly infectious virus within 20 minutes, hailing it a "major milestone" in the pandemic.
Ellume has fast-tracked production and a spokesman said the first shipment to the US will be next week and by the end of the year more than 200 million tests will arrive in the country which has been ravaged by the coronavirus.
Ellume's entire production for at least the next six months will be sent to the US, and the company is considering expanding its manufacturing overseas to meet demand.
The spokesman said Ellume was also looking at applying for European approvals later this year.
"Europe and Canada are regions/countries of interest to Ellume. Since the announcement of the FDA's EUA (Emergency Use Authorisation) there has been a tremendous amount of global interest in Ellume," he said.
The US government has been a big supporters of Ellume, injecting $US30m into the company to scale up production at its recently opened $50m Richlands production laboratory in Brisbane's south.
When at full capacity the laboratory will be capable of producing 15 million tests a month.
The US has been at the epicentre of the pandemic and so far recorded 383,000 deaths. The testing kit will be sold across major US retailers and pharmacy outlets, including Walgreens, Walmart and CVS for about $US30.
The Ellume spokesman said the company currently employs 320 people and as well as its production facility, it has its headquarters in South Brisbane and it has another office st nearby Woolloongabba.
"As production as the Richlands facility in Brisbane continues to ramp up the workforce is expected to double to more than 600 by the end of the year," he said.
"A further expansion is under consideration however specific details are yet to be finalised."
The spokesman said Ellume was working on other product lines.
"In partnership with GSK and QIAGEN the company already produces diagnostics for influenza and tuberculosis respectively. Other products are in development."
Originally published as Brisbane biotech to export first COVID tests to US