3M Co.
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3M Collaborates with MIT on Antibody Test

July 15, 2020
The project aims to create a new virus test that can be mass-produced.

3M Co. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently formed a partnership to research a new COVID-19 test.  According to 3M, the process is currently in an “accelerated research” stage and aims to produce a test that is fast, cheap, and accurate that can be mass-produced on a paper medium that would not need to be sent to a laboratory for results. Researchers are aiming for an antigen-based test, which specifically tests for the presence of immune cells adapted to fight the virus.

The project has been selected for accelerated development and commercialization support by the U.S. National Institute of Health as part of its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Tech (RADx Tech) program, and has received $500,000 in validation funding from the NIH to date with the goal of demonstrating the test’s capability and deploying it as quickly as possible. A key advantage of the test would be scalability: according to 3M, manufacturing equipment could be scaled to produce millions of test units every day.

“There is a pressing need for a highly scalable rapid test,” said Professor Hadley Sikes of MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Her research laboratory specializes in detecting and treating diseases by engineering biomolecular systems. “We are working with our colleagues at 3M to overcome the challenges to move this research from lab to impact, and find an innovative path forward to manufacture it at scale.” Sikes added that the partnership with 3M and the NIH has “greatly enhanced” efforts to develop the test.

“We are excited to collaborate with Professor Hadley Sikes and the team at MIT,” said John Banovetz, 3M CTO, in a statement. The test program at 3M is led by members of its corporate research laboratories and health care business group. “We are seeking to improve the speed, accessibility and affordability of testing for the virus, a major step in helping to prevent its spread,” he said.

The NIH’s RADx Tech features a “phase innovation funnel” that supports four weeks of intensive research into a product’s potential. Depending on how well the test performs, it will be eligible for more funds in later phases of the program.

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EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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