Integumen PLC (LON:SKIN) said it has signed a material transfer agreement (MTA) with a company called Aptamer Group that will allow the pair to develop and manufacture a kit to detect SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater.
In doing so it will use aptamers, which are synthetic molecules specifically created to bind to another, usually larger, molecule.
Integumen believes aptamers have the potential to play a key role in the real-time identification of localised coronavirus hotspots in wastewater, helping curb the spread of the virus.
The MTA provides the company with access to the raw materials for coating aptamers on silicon wafer surfaces at nano-scale.
Integumen said it will provide the Aptamer Group with access to its manufacturing facilities, which specialises in laboratory-grown human skin equivalents designed to host bacteria, virus, and fungi.
A pilot batch of the aptamers will then be tested on a SARS-CoV-2 model. After that, validation on the real virus will be carried out at a secure laboratory at the University of Aberdeen.
Once this has been completed the pair will enter into a longer-term supply agreement, with Integumen manufacturing and commercialising real-time pathogenic virus and bacteria detection devices, investors were told.
Chief executive Gerard Brandon: "Integumen's business model is built on collaborating and cooperating with partners such as the Aptamer Group who have technologies that deliver solutions to major societal problems like COVID-19.
“Surveillance and testing of waterways for the presence of bacteria and viruses has recently gained recognition as an important step in identification of COVID-19.
“This collaboration is yet another example of the diagnostics industry working together to rapidly bring effective solutions in the fight against this global pandemic."