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Key to Reopening the Country

Key to Reopening the Country
July 7, 2020

Numerous companies are now racing to develop at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Rather than requiring advanced lab equipment for processing, as current tests do, these new ones would use a sample collected at home and, like a pregnancy test, give you a simple positive or negative result in less than an hour. 

If these rapid tests prove to be accurate, affordable, and easy to manufacture, they could allow many more Americans to test themselves, even on a regular basis, serving as a huge asset in the fight against the coronavirus and towards reopening of the economy.

But there are many caveats to rolling out large-scale, at-home rapid testing for the coronavirus. For example, the results would need to be shared with public health officials to track cases and trace the contacts of people who test positive, and no one has put in place a way to do so yet. Moreover, these tests, some of which will likely have lower accuracy than current PCR tests, are also still probably at least a few months away from being available.

Despite the challenges, the FDA and private companies have made big strides in getting at-home tests approved and to market. Since the first approval in May, many more companies and models have gotten the same green light. With many go-to-market dates slated for September this year, those rapid tests will hold the keys to reopening. 

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COVID Rapid Test Companies:

California-based Mammoth Biosciences has signed a powerful partner for its development of a CRISPR-based test for COVID-19, which would aim to deliver accurate, fast results using a handheld, disposable testing platform. Mammoth Biosciences will be using its DETECTR platform to develop the test, which recently received validation through a peer-reviewed study published in Nature. Already, Mammoth has its DETECTR platform under evaluation by the FDA for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), and is partnering with GSK and its consumer healthcare division to potentially scale development and distribution for widespread commercial and consumer availability. Mammoth and GSK aim to have a COVID-19-specific test based on DETECTR ready for FDA evaluation before the end of this year.

BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, announces that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a rapid, point-of-care, SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test for use with its broadly available BD Veritor™ Plus System. The launch of this new assay that delivers results in 15 minutes on an easy-to-use, highly portable instrument is critical for improving access to COVID-19 diagnostics because it enables real-time results and decision making while the patient is still onsite.

By September, Bethlehem’s OraSure Technologies Inc. hopes to have a rapid, oral-fluid self-test on the market, one as quick and simple to use as those that can detect pregnancies. Available over the counter and able to produce results within 20 minutes, it likely would sell for less than $50, though recent federal law mandates that all public and private insurance plans must cover the cost of COVID-19 testing. The 33-year-old Lehigh Valley company, which created similar tests for HIV and Ebola, began work on the new device in January. Granted $710,000 for the task by BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority), OraSure also raised $95M through a June stock offering, in part to ramp up for what it hopes will be worldwide demand for the personal test.

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Cityblock Health, the tech-driven healthcare provider focused on improving healthcare in underserved communities, raises $54M in funding according to a recent SEC filing. Cityblock Health has now raised a total of $139.8M in reported equity funding.

Telepathy Labs Inc., a Tampa technology company with an artificial intelligence platform, raises $6.6M in an early-stage funding round.

HyperGrid, a leader in cloud management and governance, and iQuate, a leader in agentless discovery and application mapping, announces they are combining to create CloudSphere. CloudSphere's flagship Cloud Governance Platform provides enterprise and cloud service provider customers with governance for migration planning, security posture, identity, compliance and cost management across multiple public clouds.

Palantir, the sometimes controversial, but always secretive, big data and analytics provider that works with governments and other public and private organizations to power national security, health and a variety of other services, reportedly eyes a public listing this autumn. In the meantime it’s also continuing to push ahead in the private markets.

BioDirection, Inc. d/b/a NanoDiagnostics, Inc., a Boston, MA-based medical device company, closes an $18M Series C financing.

Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (CCSL), a leader in low-cost carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and separation technology, announces the completion of a new equity investment of $22M from a Series B investment round with Equinor Ventures (EV) and ICOS Capital (ICOS). EV and ICOS join the three global investors, WAVE Equity Partners, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Marubeni Corporation, who injected $16M into CCSL in February.

FraudScope, an Atlanta, GA-based AI-based platform for health plans to address the problem of fraud, waste, and abuse, completes a $7Mround of Series A financing.

TN Marketing, a Minneapolis-based global online video subscription and streaming business focused on creating communities by engaging people with their passions, announces it has acquired assets of Bluprint from NBCUniversal, effective immediately. Bluprint, a subscription video on demand service featuring online courses and other forms of video content surrounding crafts, hobbies and lifestyle topics was launched as Craftsy in 2011 and was acquired by NBCUniversal in 2017.

Valet Living, the only nationally recognized full-service amenities provider to the multifamily housing industry, announces the acquisition of doorstep waste and recycling provider, Skinner Waste Solutions, adding over 30,000 homes to Valet Living's portfolio of over 1.5M homes. 

Neighborly, the world's largest franchisor of home service brands, announces the acquisition of HouseMaster, a professional home inspection franchise headquartered in Somerville, N.J. The addition becomes the 25th brand under the Neighborly umbrella and officially expands the organization to more than 4,000 franchise owners around the world.

Hiltz Propane Systems, Inc. (Marietta, Penn.) has announced the planned acquisition of Chesmont Engineering Company, Inc. (Exton, Penn.) to offer a unified engineering and turnkey solution to the propane and energy industry. In addition to their specialized expertise in propane systems, Chesmont, which was founded in 1973, brings engineering experience in the natural gas and industrial heat process industries. Hiltz Propane Systems will acquire Chesmont Engineering assets, employees and customer contracts and the merged business will operate as part of the Hiltz Companies beginning July 1, 2020.

VMware announced the company intends to acquire Datrium, expanding the current VMware Site Recovery disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) offering with Datrium’s world-class cost-optimized DRaaS solution.

Belgian retailer Colruyt Group takes a majority stake in data specialist Daltix. Colruyt wants to expand its real-time insights into price and consumer behavior, while Daltix hopes to realize its international growth ambitions.

Since last week, PrivCo has added:
808 Profiles Updates | 113 M&A Deals144 Funding Activities
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The U.K. government and Bharti Global Ltd. have committed to pay $1B to acquire satellite company OneWeb and fund the restart of its operations.
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Uber, Postmates Agree on $2.65B All-Stock Deal
Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to acquire Postmates Inc. in a $2.65B all-stock takeover. [Read more].
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