Ortho gets $12.85M BARDA contract for ongoing COVID test work

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a Raritan-based in vitro diagnostics company, has been awarded a $12.85 million government contract to continue its work on a COVID-19 diagnostic test, it announced this week.

The company said it will continue its collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The new contract will support the development of Ortho’s coronavirus antigen test, designed for rapid detection of the COVID-19 virus, and continued support for Ortho’s two other tests, which were granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in April.

“Only highly specific tests authorized by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration — like those manufactured by Ortho — should be trusted for use in any testing strategy, as their reliable and accurate results have enormous potential to improve disease surveillance, identify people whose blood may be used for vaccine development and convalescent plasma, and help scientists answer pressing questions about immunity,” Michael Iskra, Ortho’s head of commercial excellence and strategy, said in a prepared statement.