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30 September, 2020 - 14:10 By Tony Quested

Avacta and US ally launch SARS-CoV-2 research test

Cambridge UK cancer therapy specialist Avacta will receive undisclosed royalties on sales of a new kit designed to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

It has been launched as a research kit by its partner Adeptrix in Massachusetts and presented by Bruker Scientific –  a leading mass spectrometer manufacturer, in a new application.

Avacta develops innovative cancer therapies and diagnostics based on its proprietary Affimer® and pre|CISION™ platforms. 

The bead-assisted mass spectrometry (BAMS) assay in question uses the Affimer reagents specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus to capture the virus spike protein from the sample for rapid detection by mass spectrometry, using the installed base of these instruments in hospitals. 

Up to one thousand samples per day can be analysed by a single technician using BAMS, making BAMS a very attractive high throughput technique for COVID-19 diagnosis and research.

Adeptrix has launched a BAMS research assay kit incorporating Avacta’s Affimer reagents in order to make this powerful tool available to researchers globally to support the fight against the coronavirus. 

Work carried out in parallel by Bruker to assess the performance of the assay has been published in a detailed application note.

Avacta continues to work actively with the UK government’s CONDOR programme to clinically evaluate the coronavirus BAMS assay in order to obtain regulatory approval for diagnostic use.

Avacta and Adeptrix are in discussions with mass spectrometer manufacturers with a view to establishing commercial partnerships to market the research use and diagnostic products.

Avacta CEO Alastair Smith said: “I am delighted that the Affimer-based BAMS assay developed with Adeptrix is now available for scientists to use in their research into the coronavirus. 

“A research use assay is the first step in commercialising this powerful Affimer-based coronavirus research and diagnostic tool and the clinical evaluation of the assay in the UK to support CE marking for diagnostic use is a very high priority for Avacta.

“I am also very pleased indeed that Bruker has published their application note, providing considerable detail about the performance of the SARS-CoV-2 BAMS assay, clearly demonstrating the potential of this Affimer-based coronavirus mass spectrometry test and another important validation of the Affimer platform.

“I look forward to updating the market on the clinical evaluation of the BAMS assay and on commercial progress in due course.”

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