Portfolio companies and the fight against coronavirus

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has spoken to investment company and VCT managers about the prospects for a vaccine and how their portfolio companies are contributing to the fight against coronavirus. John Glencross, Chief Executive, told of three Calculus portfolio companies, Mologic, Genedrive and Yourgene.

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Are any of your portfolio companies working on treatments or tests?

John Glencross, CEO of Calculus Capital which manages the Calculus VCT, said: “Our portfolio company Mologic is developing a rapid test for coronavirus. They have been awarded £1 million of UK Aid to develop this test. On the back of this, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Mologic’s lab in Bedfordshire, where scientists are using expertise and experience from previous epidemics to create a quicker and cheaper way to diagnose coronavirus. This rapid test could mean results are provided in 20 minutes, and without the need of a medical professional or sending samples to labs for testing. This will mean patients can be treated quickly, reducing the risk of them passing the virus on to others and helping them to recover faster.

“Another portfolio company, Genedrive, has pivoted part of its core resources towards development of two SARS-COV-2 tests, which can determine whether someone is infected with coronavirus. They anticipate that a clinically validated test could be available in approximately eight weeks. Based on discussions with sizeable third-party suppliers the company expects it could have the ability to ramp up quickly to high production volumes of over 10,000 tests per hour.

“Finally, a third portfolio company, Yourgene Health, has unveiled a contract manufacturing agreement with Novacyt SA for a COVID-19 diagnostic test. Under the deal, Yourgene will use its manufacturing facility in Manchester, UK, to ramp up production of Novacyt’s COVID-19 test, with the first batches to be shipped from the Manchester site in the next few weeks.”