Today, digital diagnostics company Ellume highlights the revolutionary technology created in partnership with global product development and technology consultancy firm, Cambridge Consultants, part of the Capgemini Group. Together, the two companies have developed a next-generation, multi-component reader that combines optics, electronics and software, and powers the core technology behind the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test.
Ellume’s test is the first rapid self-test for COVID-19 detection granted Emergency Authorisation Use by the US FDA for both asymptomatic and symptomatic use without a prescription. In February, Ellume announced a $231.8 million agreement with the US government, including the delivery of 8.5 million Ellume COVID-19 Home Tests to support the US government’s pandemic response and the establishment of Ellume’s first US manufacturing facility.
The success of this test can be attributed in large part to the several years of work from the global, multidisciplinary team at Cambridge Consultants to create an ultrasensitive, optoelectronic detection system that is used across all of Ellume’s diagnostics products. This technology includes a sensitive, but inexpensive reader to detect and interpret the near-infrared photons emitted from a quantum dot captured at the test zones of a lateral flow test strip. The reader, coupled with Ellume’s supercharged fluorescent immunochromatography, delivers world-leading specificity and sensitivity.
“The Cambridge Consultants team’s dedicated work and novel approach helped us to create a highly accurate and quantitative digital immunoassay that is also affordable, robust and simple to use – the crucial elements at the heart of successful at-home testing,” said Dr. Sean Parsons, CEO and founder of Ellume. “At-home, rapid testing is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the coming months. Without Cambridge Consultants and their continued partnership over the years, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve technical success.”
“Dr. Parsons came to us with a big challenge and a strong vision that together, we faced head on. At the time, we never knew the impact it would have on the COVID-19 epidemic,” said Nick Hawson, Senior Vice President for MedTech (US West) at Cambridge Consultants. “We’ve created a strong, long-lasting partnership with Ellume rooted in collaboration and innovation, and we hope we continue to find ways to use this technology in digital diagnostics and continue our impact on global health.”
The impact of this technology extends beyond the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test, and even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the same core technology that Cambridge Consultants helped develop, Ellume has created two other COVID-19 diagnostic tests in the past year – the QIAREACH™ COVID-19 antigen and antibody tests for the laboratory market and ellume·lab COVID-19 serology and antigen tests for healthcare professionals (to be launched later in 2021). The company has also leveraged the core sensing breakthrough in its core technology for its rapid home flu test and diagnostic assay for tuberculosis. Not only are rapid tests like Ellume’s integral to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but they could also play a critical role in tackling future pandemics and other infectious diseases across the globe.