BioPorto has announced a collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) to develop a point-of-care (PoC) test for the detection of COVID-19. The test would employ the company's existing generic Rapid Assay Device (gRAD) platform for POC tests, but would require the development of anti-COVID-19 antibodies, which is being done at SDU.
This test would be an antibody-based test, as opposed to the existing methodology of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The benefits would be much quicker readout and the ability to perform the test at the bedside using the gRAD technology. This is essential in a pandemic scenario because it allows healthcare workers to immediately triage patients, which is largely impossible given the delays with the current methodology.
Given the pressing need, there has been a massive mobilisation of resources to develop a rapid COVID-19 test, and there are hundreds of such programmes across the world. BioPorto has an advantage in this race because it has an existing platform (the gRAD) that can be used immediately to turn effective antibodies into a test, whereas other programmes will require either capital equipment (and thus not be PoC) or the development of a physical device (which requires extra time and resources).
BioPorto’s gRAD platform has historically been overshadowed by both the firm’s efforts to get The NGAL Test approved and its existing biologics business. However, it is well placed for the current scenario. The gRAD is a lateral flow device that does not have attached detection antibodies and can be sensitised against a given substrate by a short incubation in a particular testing solution. The benefit is that all that is needed to develop a COVID-19 test is a solution of these important antibodies, but it has the drawback of having a more complex procedure than other rapid tests.
Our valuation remains unchanged at DKK932m or DKK5.33 per basic share. We are not adding the COVID-19 programme to our valuation at this time because it is in a very competitive race and we are waiting until we can assess the likelihood of it winning that race. However, we expect negligible costs.