The NIH RADx Initiative contract will help Minute Molecular to further develop its DASH point-of-care PCR system for Covid-19 testing


A nasal swab being processed by DASH at a sample collection site. (Credit: Business Wire)

Minute Molecular Diagnostics has secured a $21.3m contract from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative to boost the manufacturing of its 15-minute PCR Covid-19 test.

The funding will allow the company to further develop its DASH (diagnostic analyser for specific hybridisation) point-of-care PCR system for Covid-19 testing.

The DASH SARS-CoV-2 test has been designed to facilitate sensitive PCR testing at the point of care, as well as outside the traditional laboratory environment.

Minute Molecular Diagnostics co-founder, president and CEO Dr David Kelso said: “We are pleased to receive support from NIH through the RADx initiative to scale our innovative technology during this critical time of need.

“DASH performs point-of-care PCR testing for COVID-19 in approximately 15 minutes, providing an important, new tool for safely re-opening K-12 schools, universities, and workplaces.”

Minute Molecular has worked with the Northwestern University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies (CIGHT) to develop the DASH system.

The RADx Tech funding will allow the development and manufacturing scale-up of a highly sensitive Covid-19 detection system, said Minute Molecular.

Minute Molecular co-founder and chief scientific officer Dr Sally McFall said: “DASH enables non-laboratory personnel to insert a nasal swab specimen directly into our test cartridge and then load the cartridge into the DASH instrument, providing an accurate result in about 15 minutes.”

According to the company, distribution of its DASH system in the US is contingent upon receipt of emergency use Authorisation from the US FDA.

Founded in 2011, Minute Molecular is a spin-out of the Northwestern University Center for Innovation in Global Health Technology (CIGHT).

The company’s DASH platform is also said to be adaptable to other infectious viral and bacterial agents, and sample types such as nasal swab, saliva, whole blood and others.