Healthcare Business

OpGen Takes a Different Approach to the Coronavirus

OpGen Inc. (NASDAQ: OPGN) shares jumped on Thursday after the company announced that it will be joining the fight against the coronavirus (2019-nCov). While multiple companies are already trying to develop a vaccine, OpGen is taking a different approach. What sets this one apart is that it collaborating directly with Chinese genomics companies.

Specifically, OpGen reported an update on the business of Curetis GmbH, the other party to the planned business combination with OpGen. Accordingly, Curetis announced that one of its subsidiaries and the Chinese genomics company BGI Group will collaborate in making molecular testing for the new coronavirus.

BGI was first to sequence the genome of the new 2019-nCoV virus and successfully developed a Real-Time (RT) Fluorescent PCR (polymerase chain reaction) kit for detecting 2019-nCoV, which can provide results in a few hours and has already obtained approval by the Chinese National Medical Products Administration.

In addition to the rapid detection kit based on RT-PCR technology, sequencing platform developed by BGI Group’s instrument and reagent subsidiary, MGI, passed the emergency approval procedure of the National Medical Products Administration, becoming the first officially approved testing products in China for surveillance, discovery and identification of unknown infectious diseases.

In Europe, BGI and MGI will work with their long-term strategic partner Ares Genetics to make its 2019-nCoV testing portfolio available to public health institutions and hospitals for outbreak monitoring, infection control and epidemiology.

Evan Jones, board chair and chief executive of OpGen, commented:

This collaboration highlights the importance of rapid testing technologies in tracking the evolution of and containing global outbreaks. We congratulate Curetis on their collaboration and commend them and BGI Group for their swift action to assist in the surveillance and identification of yet another infectious disease with cases across the globe.

Shares of OpGen traded up about 7% to $1.51 on Thursday. The 52-week range is $0.92 to $31.80, and the consensus price target is $2.50.