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Fluidigm to Offer Coronavirus Saliva Test to US Colleges, Universities at Low Cost

NEW YORK — Fluidigm said on Thursday that it has launched a program to provide millions of its saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 tests to US colleges and universities at low cost.

Fluidigm's Advanta Dx SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay, which received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration in August, is designed to run on the company's Biomark HD microfluidics platform. Late last month, Fluidigm finalized a contract with the National Institutes of Health that will provide the company with up to $34 million in funding to support production of the test.

Under the newly announced Fluidigm COVID-19 Campus Safeguard Program, the South San Francisco, California-based company will provide the SARS-CoV-2 assay to colleges and universities across the country for as low as $5 a test.

The company said that it has a "large number" of Biomark HD placements in academic clinical labs in the US that meet the requirements to run its test in significant numbers including ones at the University of Pennsylvania; Washington University in St. Louis; OU Medicine, the University of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

Fluidigm President and CEO Chris Linthwaite said in a statement that the company is ramping up production of the Advanta Dx SARS-CoV-2 test and expects to have 6 million available by the end of the fourth quarter.