Covid-19: Open Orphan to carry out 3,000 antibody tests per day

Antibody tests can detect if a person has had coronavirus before and has since recovered

A computer image shows a model of a coronavirus. Image: Nexu Science Communication

A computer image shows a model of a coronavirus. Image: Nexu Science Communication

 

Dublin-listed pharma services company Open Orphan will have capacity to carry out 3,000 antibody tests per day in the coming weeks as part of efforts to reopen economies shut down to help slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Open Orphan, a European-focused, rare and orphan drug consulting services platform, informed the Irish stock exchange on Monday that the Mosaiq Covid-19 antibody microarray machine is on site at Hvivo’s laboratory in east London and is undergoing testing.

London-based Hvivo is unique as it has Europe’s only commercial 24-bed quarantine clinic and on-site virology laboratory.

The antibody machine is expected to be fully operational within two weeks, following which it will have capability to undertake up to 3,000 tests a day, in line with expected performance as stated by its partner Quotient, a Swiss pharma firm.

An antibody test can detect if a person has had coronavirus before and has since recovered.

The test, carried out by a device that pricks your finger for blood, works this out by testing your blood for coronavirus antibodies to see if they have already beaten the virus and gained some immunity to it.

The company said it intended to enter into discussions with channel partners to secure testing volumes, with pricing to be determined as part of these negotiations.

It is not the company’s intention to deal directly with consumers, and while there can be no certainty on pricing until such time as terms are agreed, the company noted current market prices ranged from £70 for home-testing kits towards £150.

It is the intention to supply testing capability to channel partners, who will in turn deal with the end users and the final price points. The company said it would update shareholders in due course.

Open Orphan is the result of executive chairman Cathal Friel reversing his pharma services business of the same name into Dublin-listed drug clinical trials manager Venn Life Sciences last year. It later acquired Hvivo.