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Lexogen Nabs Austrian Funding for RNA-Seq Coronavirus Test

NEW YORK – Lexogen announced Wednesday it has received funding from the Austrian government to develop an RNA sequencing-based COVID-19 diagnostic test for mass screening.

The funding was part of a €16 million ($17.4 million) disbursement from the Austria Research Promotion Agency to companies pursuing vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for COVID-19. A Lexogen spokesperson declined to disclose the exact amount the firm received, but said "the amount granted is exactly what we asked for and it will allow us to develop the test according to the planned timeline, which is very soon given the urgency of having such test for the community."

The Vienna-based sample preparation firm will base its new test on its QuantSeq-Flex Targeted RNA-seq platform. The firm said in a statement the test will allow screening of tens of thousands of samples in parallel.

"Identifying the newly infected on a broad scale will allow us to isolate entire infection clusters at an early stage and help fight the present pandemic as well as reoccurring infection waves," Lexogen CEO and founder Alexander Seitz said in a statement. "It will also enable us to screen hospitals and retirement homes and test especially first responders and front-line workers on a daily basis, helping to keep these essential facilities open and safe."

Lexogen added it will also provide a test for tracking mutations in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.