By Robin Mayes
“I gather they are in talks with a leading High St. pharmacy chain. This could lead to a ‘white label’ type of arrangement where the bloods are sent off to hVIVO with the results returned within 48 hrs’
Here, friend of TMS Robin Mayes explains about his recent trip to a ghost town, also known as London, and his expierience in the state of the art quarantine clinic and virology lab in Whitechapel set up by Open Orphan having recently launched the hVIVO COVID Clear Test.
For the first time since February, I went to London. So exciting! It had been too long. I normally go up to town a couple of times a week for meetings with companies, brokers and fellow investors. I really enjoy the networking, meeting and catching up with investing mates to swap ideas and tales of success and failure. I always learn something. I love the buzz and energy that London gives and have missed it…
Like many, I’ve had Covid-19-like symptoms and been wanting to know if I’ve had it and if I’m infectious. Can I go and see my lonely 91-year old Dad without putting his life at risk? Do I have those lovely antibodies running through my system that will give me immunity for a year or two?
Testing for antigens and antibodies for Covid-19 is clearly going to be part of our culture for the next year or two. At least until we have effective early-stage treatments and vaccines. Prevention from infection and testing will be an integral part of our post Covid-19 lockdown culture.
There is a plethora of companies developing tests for both antigens and antibodies and there will be a need for all sorts of tests and testing. The differing needs of the NHS, GP surgeries, High Street Pharmacies and the general public dictate this as well as the need to know if you are infectious now. Have you had it? Pricing points, efficacy, convenience etc…. are all factors that mean a multitude of tests and formats will be required.
Open Orphan is trying to fill one of those testing niches. It just launched the hVIVO COVID Clear Test, the most accurate antibody test available to UK employers. The Company has invested about £500k buying and setting up a state of the art Quotient MosaiQ instrument at it’s quarantine clinic and virology lab in Whitechapel, a mile or so from the heart of the City.
Speaking to Adam French (below) the Lab Manager, he explained they expect to ramp up testing through July to 1,000 tests a day by the end of the month. The clinic’s capacity is 3,000 per day and they have access to another machine if needed. Price point will vary depending on customers’ needs but a rough estimate of £100 per test and a 50% margin will not be far off the mark. 10,000 tests will have paid for the investment and everything after that is profit. A payback on the investment within 3 months would be a phenomenal result. During my brief visit 3 companies came in to check the facilities, the service offered and to discuss terms.
Companies will have to test their staff on a regular basis to maintain good health and safety protocols. There are multiple strategies in place to help businesses with the logistics of drawing the blood; from nurse visits to company HQs/private homes to using channel partners and making testing available through GP networks, health clinics and private hospitals.
I gather they are in talks with a leading High St. pharmacy chain. This could lead to a ‘white label’ type of arrangement where the bloods are sent off to hVIVO with the results returned within 48 hrs.
Very happy to be a guinea pig, my blood was drawn and the result took an hour to come through. The blood is first spun in a centrifuge to separate out the part that hosts the antibodies, then the vials are fed into the machine and the test proceeds automatically. All very neat and efficient. Sadly, I tested negative, I was hoping the bug I had in February/March had been Covid. Alas, no, just another winter bug. At least I got to visit my Dad safely the next day and make him some lunch, even if I couldn’t give him a hug yet.
It is clear many companies are going to struggle to get their employees back to work. Trains are still deserted as are tube stations. There was a palpable frisson travelling to and around London. Employees are going to need to be reassured that their health and safety is being looked after by their employers. Employers have a legal duty of care over their employees, which they cannot afford to ignore. Prevention and detection will be the bywords that those with responsibility for health and safety will work by.