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BARDA Awards $5.65M to LightDeck to Develop SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test

NEW YORK ─ The US Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has awarded a $5.65 million contract to LightDeck Diagnostics to develop a rapid, point-of-care antigen test that detects SARS-CoV-2 in less than six minutes, the firm said on Monday.

The LightDeck COVID-19 Antigen Test leverages a simple test procedure and waveguide technology along with cost-effective manufacturing that would lead to an accurate, scalable test, the company said.

Boulder, Colorado-based LightDeck, previously called MBio Diagnostics, said it is using a current product platform to develop its rapid test to offer better sensitivity and specificity than available lateral flow-based tests that require at least 15 minutes to deliver results.

The firm noted such antigen tests represent an important adjunct to PCR testing, enabling an infected person to be quickly detected and isolated and facilitating contact tracing. Its testing strategy could be important as vaccines are rolled out to prevent asymptomatic transmission between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, the firm added. 

Last October, LightDeck announced $11 million in Series B financing to support the development and commercialization of its in vitro multiplex tests for several testing panels, including for COVID-19.

In June, the company said that it had received a $629,595 contract from BARDA to develop and commercialize its point-of-care serology test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.