TT Electronics plc (LON:TTG) has noted the announcement made today by iAbra in relation to the successful trial and launch of Virolens®, its COVID-19 screening device. TT has been working with British start up iAbra, and its partners including Intel, to design, develop and test the prototype Virolens® system and to specify and design the manufacturing processes for its commercial launch.
Description of the Virolens® screening device
The Virolens® COVID-19 screening device uses microscopic holographic imaging and artificial intelligence (AI) software technology to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus from a non-intrusive saliva swab test within 20 seconds. The device does not need to be administered by healthcare professionals and is expected to be used in airports, offices, sports venues and many other locations where people need to be in close proximity to each other.
Virolens® will enable safer access for everyone to places of work, transport and events by providing a quick, easy, repeatable and low-cost COVID-19 test, allowing hundreds of tests per machine each day. It will allow people to get on with their everyday lives in the knowledge they are in a safe environment. In partnership with Heathrow Airport, the system has successfully completed a first round of testing and is about to embark on clinical trials which would be necessary for it to be certified for medical use.
Initial commercial launch and potential
TT has been appointed exclusive manufacturing partner for the commercial launch of Virolens®, which incorporates a number of TT proprietary products. TT has received initial orders for devices and testing cartridges which will be delivered to potential launch customers in September and October 2020 with a value of circa £2 million. Whilst the range of potential outcomes remains very broad, as an early indication of the potential value of Virolens to TT, iAbra has indicated its intent to purchase further devices and cartridges with associated revenue to TT of circa £280 million. This is based on expressions of interest from more than a dozen end customers whose assessment of Virolens® are at varying stages. This additional revenue is dependent on iAbra’s end customers converting their expressions of interest into firm orders and subject to Virolens® meeting regulatory authority requirements. Delivery of these further orders could commence in Q4 2020 and would continue into 2021.
Selection of TT as a Virolens® partner
iAbra is a technology company founded in 2010 and headquartered in Bedfordshire, UK. It has been developing neural network image analysis software for 10 years with applications in autonomous driving already in production. Virolens® is based on the new application of this existing technology and has been developed in partnership with TT and powered by Intel. TT was selected as the design and manufacturing partner because of its ability to develop an idea from concept into a fully functioning machine, which can be produced in volume. TT’s engineering expertise and sub-system product capability, coupled with its global manufacturing footprint, have been a significant contributor to the rapid development of iAbra’s concept design to the point of announcement today.
Manufacturing in TT’s Hartlepool, UK facility
TT will manufacture Virolens® at its Hartlepool, UK facility, part of its Power and Connectivity division, for this launch phase. TT will invest up to £5 million to support this phase of the programme and the launch of Virolens® globally. Additional device production and cartridge assembly may also take place at other TT locations, as required.
Commenting Richard Tyson, Chief Executive Officer said:
“I am proud that we are a core part of the team behind the ground-breaking Virolens® programme. This project is evidence of the success of our strategy to position the business in higher technology, structural growth markets, using our engineering expertise to develop products in collaboration with our customers.
Virolens® has the potential to be a major step forward in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, by allowing safer access to places of work, transport and events. TT’s leading-edge products and flexible manufacturing capabilities provide significant support to critical aspects of the Virolens® device.
This programme also has the potential to deliver a step change in TT’s organic growth and to accelerate the achievement of our target operating margins. Assuming the launch is successful, there are significant opportunities around the world for further orders.”