NIH Awards $249 Million to Seven Companies for COVID-19 Diagnostic Development

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $249 million in grants to seven medical diagnostic companies making new coronavirus diagnostic technology, in hopes of producing enough tests to alleviate U.S. testing shortfalls. The awardees are:

  • Mesa Biotech, San Diego, CA
  • Quidel, San Diego, CA
  • Talis Biomedical, Menlo Park, CA
  • Ginkgo Bioworks, Boston, MA
  • Helix Opco, San Mateo, CA
  • Fluidigm, San Francisco, CA
  • Mammoth Biosciences, South San Francisco, CA

Funds will be distributed as part of the NIH’s diagnostic grant program, the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics initiative, or RADx, which is administered in collaboration with institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, the University of Massachusetts, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The investment will go toward the development of both lab-based assays and more immediate point-of-care testing. A total of 663 applications were evaluated in an intensive process the NIH dubbed a “Shark Tank,” in reference to the reality TV show on which entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of potential investors.

The seven awards are the first round of this initiative, with another 20 companies due to be selected to receive funding in the future, according to the NIH.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2020.