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Prenetics Acquires Coronavirus Test Developer Oxsed

NEW YORK — Genetic testing firm Prenetics said on Friday that it has acquired Oxsed, a University of Oxford spinout that was founded to develop and launch a rapid test for SARS-CoV-2.

The Oxsed RaViD Direct test uses reverse-transcription, loop-mediated isothermal amplification to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs, oropharyngeal swabs, as well as saliva and mouthwash specimens, and provides results in about 30 minutes. Developed by researchers from the University of Oxford and the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research, the CE-marked test has demonstrated between 92 percent and 100 percent sensitivity and 100 percent specificity in clinical testing.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Oxsed will continue to focus on prioritizing test access for low- and middle-income countries. Oxford University Innovation, the university's research commercialization arm, will also maintain management rights to Oxsed's license to the testing technology in order to ensure the company's social mission.

Additional terms were not disclosed.

Hong Kong-based Prenetics said that the test is already in use for predeparture testing at London Heathrow airport where the company has set up a rapid testing facility. Prenetics said that it has also set up a semi-automated lab at Hong Kong International Airport to test arriving passengers with the goal of establishing a travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong.

Prenetics said that it is in discussions with other international airports about using the test.

"This is truly a game-changer and we aim to make the technology available to millions of people globally," Prenetics Cofounder and CEO Danny Yeung said in a statement. "Rapid, accurate, and frequent testing is one of our most important interventions to prevent large outbreaks and for the global economy."