Becton, Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) is about to increase production of its SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic solution thanks to the largesse of two arms of the federal government. The healthcare equipment specialist announced Thursday that the Department of Defense (DOD), supported by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is providing it with a $24 million investment for the purpose.
The money will be devoted to the production of Becton, Dickinson's Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2, a test that the company says can produce results within 15 minutes of being administered. The company said that the government's capital infusion will allow it to boost production capacity by 50%. This will provide scope for the company to make over 12 million tests monthly by the close of February 2021.
On July 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Becton, Dickinson Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the test, which allows antigens to rapidly interact with antibodies to yield quick results. Another of its selling points is portability; it is used in the company's BD Veritor Plus diagnostic device, which is handheld and light. According to the company, the device's U.S. installed base tops 25,000, and is utilized by a wide variety of healthcare providers.
"Making COVID-19 diagnostic tests widely available is critical to expanding rapid detection of COVID-19 infections and mitigating the impact of the disease by identifying affected patients, quickly quarantining infectious individuals, and tracing their contacts," said Dave Hickey, worldwide president of Becton, Dickinson's integrated diagnostic solutions division.
In spite of the good news, Becton, Dickinson's stock generally moved in sync with the broader equities market on Thursday, declining by 0.9%.