Avacta signs up major US partner for its Covid-19 tests

Drug developer Avacta has signed its first distribution deal for its highly accurate Covid-19 test , which will be made available in the UK and Europe.

Dr Alastair Smith, chief executive of Avacta
Dr Alastair Smith, chief executive of Avacta

The Wetherby-based firm has entered into a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Calibre Scientific, a global provider of life science products, for Avacta’s AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test for professional use in the UK and European Economic Area (EEA).

Earlier this month. Avacta said approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was a "transformative milestone" for the group.

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With headquarters in Los Angeles, California, Calibre has a global reach extending to over 100 countries across a wide array of verticals and geographies.

The test will be listed on Calibre’s web site and will be available for purchase by professional users.

Dr Alastair Smith, chief executive of Avacta, said: “We are delighted that we have put in place this distribution agreement for the AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test for professional use with Calibre.

"As a high quality, global distributor of diagnostics and life science products with excellent links to our target markets, we are confident Calibre is well placed to support our penetration of the professional end use market in the UK and EEA."

Avacta will now focus on developing direct sales opportunities to major corporates and other large scale end users.

Dr Smith said: “We are also in discussion with potential customers in territories outside the UK and EEA, including some of the APAC region, where the additional regulatory approvals required beyond CE marking are minimal."

The APAC region covers China, India, Pakistan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and dozens of other countries.

Dr Smith added: “Lateral flow tests have a crucial role to play in helping societies and the global economy return to normal and Avacta’s AffiDX antigen test, developed in the UK and based on UK technology is well placed to play a significant role in this process.

“I look forward to updating the market on progress over the coming months.”

Avacta said its AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test will provide a cost effective and rapid means of identifying individuals with a high viral load that means they are more likely to infect others.

The firm has been in talks with the Department of Health to roll out its test in the UK and it is also in active discussion with distributors in 25 EU markets.

Avacta recently announced data from a clinical study on 98 positive Covid-19 samples that demonstrated "excellent" performance in identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus across a broad range of viral loads.

As part of the study, the same clinical samples were tested with two leading, commercially available lateral flow antigen tests, and the data showed that the AffiDx test has superior clinical sensitivity across the range of samples and in particular at lower viral loads.