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OraSure Technologies Invests in Sapphiros, Inks Distribution Deal

NEW YORK – OraSure Technologies announced on Thursday that it is leading a Series B financing for Sapphiros and has entered a strategic distribution agreement with the privately held consumer diagnostics firm.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2020 by investment firm KKR and Namal Nawana, former CEO of Alere, Boston-based Sapphiros has developed sample collection, next-generation detection systems, computational biology, and printed electronics to help consumers access diagnostic results, OraSure said in a statement.

The partnership will connect Sapphiros' product pipeline with OraSure's strength in commercial distribution. Specifically, OraSure has secured exclusive distribution rights to certain products in Sapphiros' development pipeline aligned with its expertise in self-collected blood samples and diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted infections, respiratory conditions, and other diseases, the firm said, adding that the deal will help it offer a more comprehensive range of low-cost diagnostic tests and sample management solutions to customers.

"Our partnership and investment in Sapphiros significantly expands and accelerates our product and innovation pipeline," said Carrie Eglinton Manner, president and CEO of OraSure. "It also advances our vision to improve the access, quality, and affordability of healthcare, including addressing unmet needs in the growing consumer diagnostic market," she added.

The partnership also creates opportunities for further collaboration in codeveloping future products and advancing Sapphiros' novel platforms for next-generation lateral flow devices, breakthrough molecular technologies, and advanced biosensors, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based OraSure said.

"We believe OraSure's existing commercial infrastructure will allow us to quickly and efficiently scale following regulatory approvals to the populations that need them the most," said Mark Gladwell, president and CEO of Sapphiros.

Initial product distribution is expected to begin in 2024, with additional products expected to launch in 2025 and beyond, subject to regulatory approvals, OraSure said. Distribution of Sapphiros’ products is expected to accelerate revenue growth in OraSure's core business beginning in 2025.

OraSure recently completed restructuring by merging its Molecular Solutions and Diagnostics businesses into one unit in order to reduce expenses by about $15 million annually. Sapphiros, meanwhile, was recently awarded $11.1 million by the US National Institutes of Health Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics, or RADx, program to develop an over-the-counter multiplex isothermal molecular assay for respiratory syncytial virus, influenza A and B, and SARS-CoV-2.