November 13, 2020

WE-REACH Funds Two COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostics Projects as Part of Expanded Initiatives

Seattle, WA (November 13, 2020)—The Washington Entrepreneurial Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (WE-REACH) is pleased to announce two awards to develop rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests for COVID-19. By securing about $500k in additional funding from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), WE-REACH is investing in the development of rapid, portable COVID-19 testing to enable contact tracing and curtail the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Dr. Jae-Hyun Chung

Dr. Jae-Hyun Chung

The first award is with Jae-Hyun Chung, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. His team is developing a portable and sensitive viral antigen detector using an innovative nanotube sensor-based technology. The test will be portable for point-of-care diagnostics and should provide results within minutes.

The second award is with Barry Lutz, Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. His team is developing a novel point-of-care device called “Ascensio™.” It will be a low-cost, moderate-throughput viral genetic sequence test for COVID-19. If successful, it can serve as a platform to detect SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses (such as the flu) within minutes.

Dr. Barry Lutz

Dr. Barry Lutz

Unlike current COVID-19 tests that have to be sent to central laboratories and take days to get results, these two innovative point-of-care tests should be able to provide prompt readouts onsite in local communities, field clinics, and businesses.

“We are honored that our Center can play a role in helping solve the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Rodney Ho, the executive director of WE-REACH. By bringing innovative, sensitive, and specific diagnostic tests to the market, we can help overcome a disease that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and disrupted schools and businesses.”

Beyond funding, WE-REACH provides value-added product development, regulatory strategy, market analysis, and follow-on grant development to help ensure the success of life-changing technologies. Both projects have been reviewed and supported by experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

WE-REACH is part of an NIH supported network of public-private partnerships accelerating the translation of biomedical discoveries into commercially viable products to improve patient care and enhance health.


For more information, visit us at https://www.washington.edu/we-reach/ or contact us at wereach@uw.edu.

WE-REACH is supported by NIH Grant 1 U01 HL152401.