3M, MIT Researchers Team Up To Develop Rapid Covid-19 Antigen Test

U.S. manufacturer 3M Co. (MMM), has teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19.

3M and researchers at MIT are testing a new rapid test that detects the virus and aims to be a highly accurate, mass-produced low-cost diagnostic device that delivers results in minutes.

The test would detect viral antigens and seeks to deliver highly accurate results within minutes via a paper-based device. The test could be administered at the point-of-care and would not need to be sent to labs for testing. 3M said that once the diagnostic test is developed and validated, it could scale up manufacturing to produce millions of units per day.

“Our approach is ambitious, but our collective expertise can make a difference for people around the world,” said 3M Chief Technology Officer John Banovetz. “We are seeking to improve the speed, accessibility and affordability of testing for the virus, a major step in helping to prevent its spread.”

The U.S. National Institute of Health selected the rapid COVID-19 test to be part of its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Tech (RADx Tech) program, an aggressively-paced COVID-19 diagnostics initiative. The project received an intial $500,000 funding grant from RADx Tech and is eligible for further investment in later stages of the development.

The 3M team is led by scientists, manufacturing and regulatory experts from its corporate research laboratories and health care business group. The research team at MIT is led by the Sikes lab, which specializes in the development of molecular technologies to improve the performance of rapid, cellulose-based protein tests.

Shares in 3M, which also produces N95 respirator masks, rose 2% to $157.63 in early afternoon trading narrowing their year-to-date decline to 11%.

Wall Street analysts are sidelined on 3M’s stock. The Hold consensus is based on 6 Holds and 2 Sells versus 2 Buys. The $164 average price target indicates 4.2% upside potential in the shares in the next 12 months. (See 3M’s stock analysis on TipRanks)

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