Ellume nets $232M government contract to produce COVID-19 home tests in U.S.

White House
The 8.5 million self-tests purchased from Ellume will be distributed across the country under the national COVID-19 response policy established on President Biden’s first full day in office last month. (uschools/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Australian COVID-19 diagnostic maker Ellume has secured a $231.8 million contract from the Biden administration to establish its first production facility in the U.S., and deliver 8.5 million of its at-home tests.

The company’s digital coronavirus test received a landmark FDA green light last December, allowing it to be sold over-the-counter and performed solo, regardless of whether a person is displaying symptoms, and going from swab to result in about 20 minutes.

“Our focus is enabling the U.S. to minimize community transmission and reopen as quickly as possible,” Ellume founder and CEO Sean Parsons said

“We are prioritizing our partnership with the U.S. government to mobilize tests quickly and in the most impactful way,” Parsons added. “We will fulfill the order for these tests at the same time as we ramp up the output across our production facilities, creating more possibilities for retail and private institution use in the future.”

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Ellume previously received manufacturing scale-up funding from the National Institutes of Health, through its competitive COVID-19 diagnostics accelerator program. The planned U.S. facility is slated to turn out 640,000 tests per day before the end of the year.

The new contract, issued through the Department of Defense alongside the Department of Health and Human Services, aims to build upon the Brisbane-based Ellume’s existing production capacity of about 200,000 tests per day. 

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About half of those will be shipped to the U.S. from Australia until the new onshore facility is built. The 8.5 million tests will be distributed across the country under the national COVID-19 response policy established on President Biden’s first full day in office.