While Australian blood products giant CSL (ASX:CSL) is the only ASX-listed company that might be involved in manufacturing a vaccine, there are a number of biotech companies that have been working on effective treatments for COVID-19.
There are also a number of smaller companies doing lucrative deals with COVID-19 suppliers.
Most recently, on Tuesday Dotz Nano (ASX:DTZ) announced it had landed a $US13m (~$18m) contract with Breathe Medical Manufacturing, a Canada-based manufacturer of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The company said it would provide its “Secured by Dotz” product authentication solution in connection with the production of face masks, allowing essential workers in Canada to “authenticate the quality of their masks on-site and in real-time”.
Dotz chairman Bernie Brookes said the agreement demonstrated “the quality of our unique end-to-end technology in improving supply chain management within the PPE industry”.
Blockchain’s role in COVID fight
Believe it or not even blockchain has a role to play in helping combat the pandemic.
Security Matters (ASX:SMX) is working on an application it plans to release in the first quarter of 2021 that could mark pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, with a chemical-based “barcode”.
The company says COVID-19 has dramatically increased the importance placed on security and governance, and potentially increased the applicability of Security Matters’ technology.
“We have been consulting with a number of major drug companies on how our application can benefit the sector amidst so much uncertainty,” chief executive Haggai Alon told Stockhead.
The molecular barcode could be applied to not just drugs but also their containers, such as bottles and boxes, Alon said.
The codes can be read by Security Matter’s unique proprietary reader as part of its business-to-business white-label authentication solution, he said.
COVID-19 has presented Security Matters with several opportunities and the company says it has been working closely with its strategic and commercial partners to further leverage its network within existing vertical relationships.
Adopting existing tech for COVID testing
Atomo Diagnostics (ASX:AT1), meanwhile, has supplied millions of its rapid, self-administered AtomoRapid tests to French biotechnology specialist NG Biotech and US company Access Bio for distribution in France and the United States.
Atomo had already developed the simple self-administered pinprick blood tests before the pandemic, selling them to diagnostic manufacturers that incorporate their own test strips.
Once COVID-19 hit, the tests were in strong demand from companies that wanted to test for COVID-19 antibodies.
Atomo has also used AtomoRapid to create its own COVID-19 antibody tests, which received approval from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration on August 10, and is looking to sell them to aged care homes, public health providers and other institutions.
While not exactly a microcap, ASX300-component Starpharma (ASX:SPL) is also getting in on the COVID action.
The company has created a long-acting, water-soluble version of Gilead Science’s COVID-19 treatment remdesivir, which currently must be administered intravenously in a process that can take as long as two hours.
This new controlled-released nanoparticle formula can be injected subcutaneously, allowing for outpatient treatment and reducing the burden on hospitals.
At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Security Matters is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.
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Barry Stroman was a reporter for Zerg Watch, before becoming the lead editor. Barry has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Barry studied at NYU.