RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – In the category of COVID innovation, Greensboro-based Qorvo Biotechnologies has received a $4.1 million follow-on contact from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support its COVID-related diagnostic test platform. The agreement is through the NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative.
The Greensboro company, a subsidiary of American semiconductor corporation Qorvo (Nasdaq:QRVO), develops point-of-care diagnostic tests that deploy high-performance bulk acoustic wave (BAW) detection. It’s the same technology used by Wi-Fi routers, 5G cellular towers and mobile phones.
Qorvo Biotechnologies said the NIH contract will help fund clinical trials and the launch of two tests that take advantage of its Qorvo Omnia diagnostic platform. It’s a small desktop-sized instrument that uses BAW sensors to detect low levels of a targeted antigen, with similar sensitivity as more traditional molecular testing. The first diagnostic is a SARS-CoV-2/Flu Combo Assay; the second, a SARS-CoV-2 Antigen pooling application.
The SARS-CoV-2/Flu Combo Assay will simultaneously find and distinguish between the SARS-CoV-2, Flu A and Flu B viruses. Qorvo said the technology can produce accurate results from a single nasal swab in 20 minutes.
The antigen pooling application allows up to six nasal swab samples to be processed and tested at the same time. This approach, which can save time and money, is designed to screen groups of people suspected of having the COVID-CoV-2 virus who aren’t experiencing symptoms, according to Qorvo.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for Qorvo Biotechnology’s antigen test in April 2021.
The new NIH contract, combined with a previous award from the federal agency of $24.4 million, will allow Qorvo to speed up production and launch of multiple COVID testing solutions that use the single platform, according to the company. “Today’s COVID testing market is demanding high-quality testing infrastructure at the point of care, with automated workflow, menu expansion and scalability to serve future needs of the pandemic,” said Qorvo Biotechnologies President Philip Chesley. “This contract award and continued RADx support enable Qorvo to more effectively address the expanding requirements of diverse end-user settings.”
(C) N.C. Biotech Center