Molecular diagnostics company MicroGEM has acquired engineering company Jump Start Manufacturing to expand its Spitfire 6830 SARS-CoV-2 testing system production.

Spitfire is a PCR-based point-of-need saliva test.

The company expects that with its pilot-scale manufacturing facility in Charlottesville, along with its newly established large-scale production facilities in Ogden, Utah, and Hudson, New Hampshire, it can expand its manufacturing in the US.

It plans to create more than 500 jobs between the two locations.

Together, the facilities have more than 120,000ft² of combined space and will enable MicroGEM to produce 160,000 test kits every day.

MicroGEM CEO Jeff Chapman said: “We are proud to join forces with the talented Jump Start team to accelerate the production and deployment of our innovative Spitfire6830 SARS-CoV-2 testing system.

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“Bringing Jump Start’s leading manufacturing capabilities and expertise under the MicroGEM umbrella and dramatically expanding our production capabilities will ensure that more Americans have greater access to high-quality Covid-19 tests, bringing key tools to help end this devastating pandemic.”

MicroGEM designed the Spitfire 6830 system to detect SARS-CoV-2 in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The system is in its final stages of development.

Preparations are underway to submit the system to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorisation.

Under the MicroGEM umbrella, Jump Start will continue to provide existing services to its customers with no interruption while increasing its capacity to offer wider breadth of capabilities.

Jump Start founder Thomas Moran will join MicroGEM as chief operations officer and oversee all manufacturing activities.

Moran said: “The unique capability of the Spitfire6830 to quickly provide highly sensitive and specific identification of SARS-CoV-2 from saliva samples puts MicroGEM at the cutting edge of point-of-need diagnostics.

“Jump Start is thrilled to join the MicroGEM team, enabling us to help bring this low-cost, high-quality test to market while ensuring our Jump Start customers continue to receive the high-touch service they expect and deserve.”

The companies have not disclosed the financial terms of the deal.