Avacta Group collaborates with Adeptrix to develop a high throughput Covid -19 antigen test

UK-based Avacta Group, the developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, will collaborate with US-based Adeptrix to develop a high throughput Covid -19 antigen test using Adeptrix’s proprietary bead-assisted mass spectrometry (BAMS) platform.

The Affimer-based BAMS coronavirus antigen test that will provide clinicians with a significant expansion of the available testing capacity for Covid-19 infection in hospitals.

Adeptrix’s novel BAMS platform combines enrichment of the sample to improve sensitivity with the power of mass-spectrometry to improve specificity. Hundreds of samples per day can be analysed by a single technician using BAMS, exceeding the capacity of single PCR machine, making BAMS a very attractive high throughput technique for Covid-19 screening in the clinical setting.

The diagnostic test will allow hospitals around the world to utilise their existing installed base of mass spectrometers that are not currently used for Covid-19 testing, thus contributing significantly to the increase in global testing capacity. Avacta’s recently developed Affimer reagents that bind the SARS-COV-2 spike protein will be used to provide the capture and enrichment of the virus particle from the sample which could be saliva, nasopharyngeal swabs or serum.

The companies are aiming to have a BAMS test ready for clinical validation, regulatory approval and manufacturing in June. Adeptrix and Avacta are already in discussion with large-scale manufacturing partners to rapidly deploy this new high throughput test.

Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented: “We believe that the BAMS test will be hugely attractive as an adjunct to PCR testing because it uses laboratory equipment that is already in hospital labs but not currently used for Covid-19 testing so it provides incremental testing capacity.

I have made it clear that we intend to partner the SARS-COV-2 spike protein Affimer reagents with several select companies to support antigen test development on multiple diagnostic test platforms. This will contribute most effectively to the urgent need to increase antigen testing capacity globally and maximise the commercial return to Avacta. Adeptrix is one example of this and other discussions are underway. I look forward very much to further updating the market in the near future.”

Dr. Jeffrey C. Silva, Director of Product Development, Adeptrix Corporation commented: “Mass spectrometry can enhance the diagnostic utility of immunoassays, as it is capable of monitoring both existing and emerging viral strains by accurately measuring the molecular components of the virus. BAMS provides an ideal multiplexing platform to obtain higher specificity for monitoring Covid-19 infection.”