By Kristy Dorsey

Shares in Omega Diagnostics put in another strong performance yesterday following further progress with one of its partnerships to potentially roll out millions of tests to detect Covid-19 antibodies.

The AIM-listed firm’s stock rose by more than half as investors welcomed news that the Scottish diagnostics specialist has received permission to market the test in the UK and Europe. This CE Mark was granted just a week after Omega agreed to let the test’s developer, Bedfordshire-based Mologic, make the tests at Omega’s facility in Littleport, Cambridgeshire.

Mologic’s ELISA diagnostic will help identify people who have built up immunity to coronavirus. It will be used for laboratory testing of patient samples that have been sent in by hospitals or GPs.

Shares in Omega closed 59% higher yesterday at 60.5p, up from 7.5p at the start of April. The value of the stock has surged by nearly 700% so far this month as the company has unveiled various Covid-19 initiatives.

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Omega’s facility in Littleport has capacity to produce 46,000 Mologic ELISA tests per day, which implies approximately 16 million tests annually. Commercial success will depend in part on the outcome of validations currently being carried out by Public Health England, NHS Scotland and health authorities in the Republic of Ireland.

House broker finnCap said these decisions “could be imminent”, adding that it was “impressed” by the speed at which Omega had achieved the CE Mark.

“Omega is ready to scale up production of this test and has the supply chain in place to do so,” analysts said in a note to investors. “Until we have better visibility over potential orders we are not changing forecasts, (but) with the potential production capacity able to generate up to an estimated £30 million of revenues, there is clearly upside to (our) 25p valuation.”

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ELISA is the industry acronym for Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay, one of the most proven lab technologies in the diagnostics industry. Mologic’s ELISA test has already received independent validation from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London.

“We are pleased that Omega has been able to CE Mark Mologic’s ELISA antibody test and it is testimony to the teams within both companies that we have reached this milestone in such a short timescale,” Omega chief executive Colin King said.

The Mologic partnership is separate from Omega’s participation in the UK Rapid Test Consortium (RTC), which was announced on April 9. The RTC is developing tests that can be used at home to detect Covid-19 antibodies, which when approved will be made by Omega at its headquarters in Alva.