Boohoo co-founder Mahmud Kamani has joined forces with Richard Hughes, founder of investment bank Zeus Capital, to launch direct-to-consumer sales of a saliva-based rapid test for the Covid-19 antigen.
Their vehicle, Medusa19, will exclusively partner with life sciences business Avacta to build a global consumer self-testing business.
Hughes is a founding shareholder of Boohoo and led its 2014 flotation. More recently Zeus Capital co-cordinated Boohoo’s £200m equity fundraising to finance further acquisitions.
Medusa19’s intial focus is on home testing. It is currently investing in global ecommerce, logistics and customer support infrastructure in preparation for the test launch.
It also has the non-exclusive rights to supply the tests to businesses for workforce testing.
Avacta’s saliva-based test could give a result within minutes and will indicate whether an individual has contracted coronavirus regardless of whether they are showing symptoms. It will be able to be used by both healthcare professionals and consumers.
Hughes and Kamani said: “We immediately recognised the global opportunity to distribute the simple and unique saliva-based Covid-19 rapid test. Medusa19 will enable end-to-end supply of these tests on a global basis, subject to regulatory approval and manufacturing capacity, which will be key.
“The enormous, worldwide demand for these tests requires a robust and scalable platform, which we are in the process of creating. Hundreds of millions of tests are required, and this demand will continue.
“Given this test will be saliva based, it could be used in airports, offices, factories and in the home environment, providing a result within minutes and with no requirement for medical supervision. It is potentially ground breaking and a major step forward in the fight against Covid-19.”