Babson Diagnostics to Offer High-Throughput COVID-19 Serology Testing in Austin, Texas
April 15, 2020
Austin, Texas - Babson Diagnostics, a transformative diagnostic blood testing company, announced today it will launch a COVID-19 serology testing service. COVID-19 serology testing is used to detect the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the bloodstream, which makes it the preferred method for evaluating whether a person has had a SARS-CoV-2 infection in the past and whether they may have developed immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infections in the future.
COVID-19 serology testing is used to identify those who can safely circulate in the community without risk of infection to self or others, to track and manage the disease at the population level, and as a companion diagnostic for development and evaluation of treatments and vaccines. Testing will initially be performed in Babson’s CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited, high-complexity clinical laboratory in Austin.
“Sensitivity and specificity of COVID-19 serology is paramount,” said Eric Olson, Babson’s founder and CEO. “We’re using the best laboratory technology available to develop the most accurate serology assays possible.”
“We’re using the best laboratory technology available to develop the most accurate serology assays possible.”
Eric Olson, Babson Founder & CEO
Babson—whose core technology is designed to produce accurate diagnostic results from small capillary samples collected at convenient retail locations—has a pipeline of COVID-19 serology assays under development. The assays span IgG, IgM and IgA—both qualitative and quantitative—and are intended for use with venous and capillary collection in accessible, decentralized locations as well as established, centralized collection facilities. Babson’s first-generation IgG assay has demonstrated strong performance and is being validated and moved into production. Babson will also employ third-party test kits to ensure partners have access to the best available technology.
Babson is developing its COVID-19 serology assays to run on the Siemens Healthineers Atellica® Solution, which enables high-performance assays and high-throughput processing. The platform can run up to 440 fully-automated tests per hour per analyzer using high-throughput bidirectional magnetic sample transportation technology. The Atellica platform also supports assay development using acridinium ester chemiluminescence detection technology, which increases flexibility in assay design and gives high quantum yield and rapid kinetics.
“We are all in the early stages of understanding COVID-19 immunology, therefore agility will be critical for innovation during the months ahead. Scientific discoveries, new treatments and viral mutations may trigger the need for improved tests. The first generation of tests will power research, which in turn will power the development of the next generation of tests,” said Olson.
Babson will make the antibody detection tests available first to Austin-area COVID-19 patients, front-line employees such as healthcare workers and retailers, and researchers working to understand COVID-19 immunity. After establishing the service in Austin and Texas, Babson Diagnostics plans to scale testing nationally and internationally.
About Babson Diagnostics
Babson Diagnostics aims to bring diagnostic blood testing to the retail pharmacy counter, making it easier, faster, and more pleasant for customers to routinely monitor and improve their health. Babson's proprietary technological ecosystem is designed to deliver accurate diagnostic results with a more human experience. Based in Austin, Texas, its vision for diagnostic blood testing—built on accuracy, convenience, and accessibility—combines transformative diagnostic technology with a customer-first, retail-centric business model that aims to improve customer health and experience. Prior to commercialization, Babson Diagnostics is working with local and national retail pharmacies to validate its technology by conducting clinical studies intended for peer-reviewed publication.