It’s tough to imagine a less likely combination, but here it is: Tauriga Sciences Inc (OTCMKTS:TAUG) is hot on the trail of a new rapid Covid testing solution. It sounds like a bit of a stretch. But, for those paying close attention, the story is very interesting given the press release out in early April announcing that:
“Tauriga Sciences, Inc. (OTCQB:TAUG) and Aegea Biotechnologies, Inc. have entered into a collaboration agreement to develop a rapid, multiplexed COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) test designed to have superior sensitivity and selectivity. This PCR-based test will measure the SARS-CoV-2 virus from nasal (or other) swabs by utilizing Aegea’s patented and clinically validated technologies, including Selector Technology, which have been cross-licensed and used in over 15,000 oncology patient samples to successfully detect ultra-rare mutations. In existing assays Aegea’s patented technologies demonstrate exquisite specificity and very high sensitivity.”
Why is that so important this morning?
Why indeed: because Aegea appears to be onto something big. In its release out this morning, Aegea put out news that it has been selected as a semi-finalist in the prestigious XPRIZE competition for rapid COVID testing.
According to the release, XPRIZE is renowned for its worldwide competitions to solve humanity’s most important challenges. The $5 million, six-month XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition was launched this summer to accelerate the development of high-quality COVID-19 testing that is affordable, easy to use, and fast-turnaround. These improved COVID-19 tests would enable more frequent testing.
It should hardly be surprising that the stated goal of the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition is to increase the scale of COVID-19 testing capabilities by hundredfold over our current standard, in order to more safely return to everyday activities.
To put things into perspective, according to the Aegea, approximately 700 teams spanning six continents registered for the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition.
The release also notes that Aegea advanced to the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing Semi-Finals with a new, highly sensitive PCR-based assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) that Aegea designed and is developing in collaboration with Biocept, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIOC) and Tauriga Sciences, Inc. (OTC/QB: TAUG).
The Players Line Up
Aegea’s COVID-19 PCR assay is based on Switch-Blocker technology, which is patent protected in the United States and in 10 major international territories. The intellectual property underlying the Switch-Blocker technology is jointly owned by Aegea and Biocept. Under Aegea and Biocept’s cross licensing agreement relating to the Switch-Blocker intellectual property, Aegea has exclusive rights in the field of infectious disease, and Biocept has certain rights within the field of clinical oncology.
Some sense of what Tauriga is bringing to the table here was given in the original collaboration announcement:
Lyle Arnold, Ph.D., Aegea’s founder and CEO, added in that release, “Tauriga is providing important resources to quickly commercialize our highly sensitive and specific novel coronavirus test. We value the extensive and high-level relationships with potential distributors and customers that Tauriga has built over the years.”
In addition to high sensitivity and specificity, affordability and fast turnaround time, Aegea’s test is designed to provide additional information on specific strain types of SARS-CoV-2.
Arnold added, in the release today: “We are pleased to compete for the XPRIZE and to put our inventions and ideas towards solving an urgent global health need. Aegea’s new COVID-19 test utilizes the single nucleotide discrimination capacities of the patented Switch-Blocker technology to differentiate itself from other COVID-19 PCR assays,” said Lyle J. Arnold, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Aegea. “Our assay is designed to detect low copy numbers of viral RNA, therefore it could potentially detect the viral load at much lower levels than conventional PCR-based assays. If successful, this could be enormously helpful in reducing the infection rate, because it has been reported that asymptomatic patients are able to infect others. Additionally, our COVID-19 PCR assay is designed for superior specificity, with the ability to identify the different strains of SARS-CoV-2, as well as distinguish SARS-CoV-2, which is associated with COVID-19, from other common forms of the SARS virus.”
Aegea’s Chief Business Officer, Stella M. Sung, Ph.D. further added: “In addition to applying proprietary science, Aegea has established strategic collaborations that will enable us to quickly scale and commercialize our COVID-19 PCR test. Biocept is a CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited high-complexity molecular lab that can run our high throughput, multiplexed test. And Tauriga Sciences has extensive relationships with manufacturers and distributors to help with supply chain issues. Being a semi-finalist for the XPRIZE will further accelerate Aegea’s development and commercialization timelines. Our immediate goal is to get a fast, accurate, affordable, accessible, information-rich test to the market. Our long-term purpose is to equip our global community with a powerful tool for managing pandemics and for saving lives.”
Hence, TAUG could be interesting today as the market zeroes in on the underlying narrative.
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