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Sorrento Acquires Point-of-Care Diagnostic Technology Firm Virex Health

NEW YORK — Sorrento Therapeutics said on Tuesday that it has acquired Virex Health, a privately held developer of diagnostics for COVID-19 and other diseases.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Boston-based Virex was spun out of Boston University to advance a technology that uses enzymatic and electrochemical amplification to detect picogram-level biological analytes in blood including SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A and B, according to Sorrento. It can also be used to detect markers for liver cancer, inflammation, and hormone monitoring.

Sorrento said that the technology is compatible with glucometers, allowing for its use in rapid, at-home tests.

"Similar to a glucose meter, the amplified electrochemistry signal is converted to an electrical current and read in a reusable glucometer," Scott Schaus, a BU researcher and Virex cofounder, said in a statement. "Today there are glucose meters in nearly 1 in 10 households in the world. We know the chemistry is broadly adaptable and the supply chain highly scalable."

"We … are excited to mass produce and commercialize the rapid at-home tests for daily COVID-19 testing and frequent early cancer detection," Henry Ji, Sorrento's chairman and CEO, added in a statement.

In mid-2020, San Diego-based Sorrento licensed a reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification-based point-of-care SARS-CoV-2 test from Columbia University.