Assay to provide small and medium-sized labs access to fast, cost-effective, sample-to-answer testing for public health threat
BUFFALO, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Rand Capital Corporation (Nasdaq: RAND) (“Rand” or “Rand Capital” or the “Company”), a business development company, announced that its portfolio company, Rheonix Inc. is developing a coronavirus (COVID-19) test kit for use on its Encompass MDx® workstation. Upon Rheonix’s receipt of emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the new test will allow for the fully automated detection of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory specimens, facilitating testing at small and medium-sized labs in distributed locations.
The Rheonix system is a fully automated, sample-to-answer microfluidic system that provides test results in four hours and requires no technician involvement after the sample is loaded. The workstation automatically introduces clinical specimens directly from their barcoded collection tubes into the wells of the microfluidic Rheonix CARD® cartridges, and processes all virus detection reactions on the cartridge within the closed workstation. Once the test is completed, all biological waste remains enclosed in the disposable cartridge and is destroyed. The fully enclosed, self-contained workstation and cartridge system eliminate the technician’s need to handle the sample and reduce the possibility for spread of the highly communicable virus.
“A fully automated sample-to-answer testing solution that can be reliably run by small and medium-sized labs will be critical in mobilizing local and regional health networks to fight the COVID-19 public health emergency,” said Richard Montagna, Ph.D., FACB, senior vice president for scientific and clinical affairs, Rheonix. “We are grateful that the FDA is providing the flexibility necessary for innovative companies like Rheonix to act quickly to put testing in the hands of those most in need of rapid and dependable methods to control the spread of this virus.”
Allen F. (“Pete”) Grum, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rand Capital, commented, “We are proud to support Rheonix’s important mission of improving standards of care by making molecular diagnostics widely available. In this instance, the company has responded quickly to the needs of the healthcare community in helping to address the global coronavirus pandemic, demonstrating their nimbleness.”
Rheonix is working with a consortium of leading New York state collaborators to test and validate the assay. Inactivated samples of the coronavirus are being provided by ZeptoMetrix, a Buffalo-based company that manufactures biological material for diagnostics development. A leading New York health care network is providing clinical samples and expertise, and Gregory Wilding, Ph.D., chair of the biostatistics department of the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, will validate the results. Rheonix anticipates submitting an emergency use authorization (EUA) to the FDA on the Rheonix COVID-19 MDx assay for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 as soon as validation is complete.
The fair value of Rand’s investment in Rheonix was approximately $703,000 as of December 31, 2019.
Rheonix has developed the suite of Encompass workstations, fully automated systems that provide highly multiplexed sample-to-answer molecular testing for use in clinical, research and applied testing laboratories. With minimal hands-on time, the Encompass systems offer true walkaway simplicity. Rheonix’s growing portfolio offers multiplexed testing solutions including the Beer SpoilerAlert™ assay, the most comprehensive beer spoilage panel available; the Listeria PatternAlert™ assay, a rapid method for Listeria strain typing; and the NGS OnePrep™ solution, a fully integrated and automated DNA extraction and library prep solution. The Rheonix STI TriPlex™ Assay and Rheonix Encompass MDx® workstation are currently undergoing FDA 510(k) review. For more information, visit www.rheonix.com.
ABOUT RAND CAPITAL
Rand Capital (Nasdaq: RAND) is an externally-managed Business Development Company (BDC) with a wholly-owned subsidiary licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC). The Company’s investment objective is to maximize total return to its shareholders with current income and capital appreciation by focusing its debt and related equity investments in privately-held, lower middle market companies with committed and experienced managements in a broad variety of industries. Rand invests in early to later stage businesses that have sustainable, differentiated and market-proven products, revenue of more than $2 million and a path to free cash flow or up to $5 million in EBITDA. The Company’s investment activities are managed by its external investment adviser, Rand Capital Management, LLC. Additional information can be found at the Company’s website where it regularly posts information: https://www.randcapital.com/.
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Allen F. ("Pete") Grum
President and CEO
Source: Rand Capital Corporation
Released March 19, 2020