Prenetics Acquires Oxsed, Oxford University Spin-out to Scale Rapid COVID-19 Test Globally. Rapid Airport Testing has begun in Heathrow with Trials in Hong Kong International Airport.

2020-10-30 16:19 1517
  • The Oxsed RaViD Direct test kit is highly accurate at 92% - 100%1 sensitivity, and provides a scalable and low-cost COVID-19 test which can be performed anywhere. Results in 15-30 minutes
  • The acquisition will accelerate global access and availability at reasonable cost, particularly for Low- and Middle-Income Countries
  • Oxsed has received regulatory approvals with MHRA in the UK (FDA Equivalent) and CE Mark in the EU

OXFORD, United Kingdom, Oct. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- DNAFit Life Sciences Limited ("DNAFit"), a wholly owned UK entity of Hong Kong based Prenetics Limited ("Prenetics"), has acquired Oxsed, a social venture company which has developed a rapid COVID-19 testing platform based on research from Oxford University.

Under the terms of the agreement, DNAFit and Prenetics have acquired exclusive global rights to the Oxsed technology. Prenetics will work together with the Oxsed team on further R&D efforts to fight the global pandemic. Funds received through the acquisition and access to Prenetics global network of resources will greatly accelerate Oxsed's mission to provide rapid COVID-19 testing globally. Under the terms of the acquisition, Oxsed will maintain its focus on prioritising low- and middle-income countries.

As the next phase of the pandemic unfolds, it is critical that a rapid, accurate and more affordable COVID-19 point of care test be deployed globally to help people around the world resume a sense of normalcy for work, travel and for family.

The Oxsed test detects SARS-CoV-19 with great sensitivity and specificity, with validated trials demonstrating a 92-100%1 positive agreement. The Oxsed testing kit has received CE mark in the EU and MHRA in the UK. The Oxsed technology is already in use at London Heathrow for pre-departure passengers where Prenetics and Collinson / Swissport has established a rapid testing facility. In Hong Kong, Prenetics has set-up an semi-automated laboratory and are utilizing Oxsed as part of trials for arriving passengers which started on 28th October, 2020. The trials are part of the much-anticipated travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong. Prenetics is also in discussions with global international airports and will make announcements at the right time.

The Oxsed test is based on the work of Professors Zhanfeng Cui and Wei Huang, who led a team of researchers from the University of Oxford's Department of Engineering Science and Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR). The team developed a viral RNA molecular test identified as a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) using RT-LAMP technology. There are currently two nucleic acid amplification methods with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for diagnostic COVID-19 testing: real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and real time reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). The significant advantage of RT-LAMP is that accurate results can be had within 15-30 minutes, rather than a minimum of 4-6 hours with RT-PCR, and can be performed in both a laboratory for high throughput or without a laboratory for point of care settings.

Following the acquisition, Oxford University Innovation, the University's research commercialisation arm, will maintain management rights over Oxsed's licence, ensuring the company's social mission.

Danny Yeung, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Prenetics, said:

"We are immensely proud to collaborate with Oxford University and Oxsed. This is truly a game-changer and we aim to make the technology available to millions of people globally. Rapid, accurate, and frequent testing is one of our most important interventions to prevent large outbreaks and for the global economy. It's our quest to help everyone in the new "normalcy" and open borders for travel, schools, sports, events, elderly care homes and more."

Professor Zhanfeng Cui, Co-Founder of Oxsed, added:

"After months of intense work alongside with Prenetics, they are in no doubt the perfect partner to quickly roll out the Oxford Rapid test at scale, and help society resume a more normal way of living and productivity. Being a lifelong academic, I am very excited that Oxsed can provide a very well validated technology to the world."

Adam Workman, Head of Investments & New Ventures at Oxford University Innovation, added:

"This collaboration will enable fast global deployment of the Oxford Rapid Test, huge increase in production scale and potentially significant reduction in cost, which ultimately benefit the low- and middle-income countries in the world. I am excited to see that the Oxsed RaViD Direct test is already in use at two of the largest international airports, Heathrow and trials in Hong Kong."

The Honourable Alfred Sit-Wing-Hang, Secretary for Innovation and Technology of Hong Kong SAR, added:

"Innovation is happening at a rapid pace and we are excited to see Prenetics, a home-grown startup be in the fore-front in the global fight against the pandemic. We look forward to further work with Prenetics closely on testing and encourage even the possibility of manufacturing Oxsed in Hong Kong."

About the Oxsed RaVid Direct Testing Kit1

Clinical trials gave comparable results with laboratory RT-PCR tests, demonstrating accuracy and reliability:

  • 100% Sensitivity (CT <36) and 100% Specificity - (Extracted RNA) Validated Clinical Performance with 16 samples (8 positives), completed at Oxford University, Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research, Luoho People's Hospital, Shenzhen
  • 96% Sensitivity (CT <38) and 100% Specificity - (Extracted RNA) Validated Clinical Performance with 527 samples (83 positives), completed at Prenetics Hong Kong ISO 15189 Accredited Laboratory
  • 92% Sensitivity (CT <31) and 100% Specificity - (Direct Swab) Validated Clinical Performance with 69 samples (30 positives), completed at Oxford University John Radcliffe Hospital

Oxsed RaViD Direct SARS-CoV-2 Test is a rapid diagnostic assay developed by Oxford University1,2 for the in vitro qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swabs, oropharyngeal swabs, as well as saliva and mouthwash specimens collected from individuals, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic of having COVID-19. 

The test is based on a reverse transcription, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) technology for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The reaction takes place in a single-tube format and simply requires heat bath at 65°C for up to 30 minutes followed by results reading based on colour change or by a fluorescence reader.

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1.  Huang, W. E. et al. RT-LAMP for rapid diagnosis of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Microb. Biotechnol. 13(4), 950–961 (2020)
2.  Cui, Z. et al. Development of a rapid test kit for SARS-CoV-2: an example of product design. Bio-Des. Manuf. 3, 83–86 (2020).

About Prenetics

Prenetics is a leading genetics and diagnostic health testing company, operational in 10 countries with a team of over 200. Prenetics, driven by a duty of social responsibility due to the global pandemic launched Project Screen, an initiative aimed at making COVID-19 testing easy, safe and accurate. Prenetics has to-date performed more than 300,000 RT-PCR tests in Hong Kong and  the United Kingdom. In Hong Kong, Prenetics was the 1st private laboratory to have been appointed by the Hong Kong government for mass community testing. In the United Kingdom, Prenetics was instrumental in the re-start of the English Premier League season having done the testing across 20 clubs for all of their players and coaches, as well as introducing a digital health passport in stadiums.


Media:; Diane Chow,, +852 9039 8878, Gusto Luxe (formerly Reuter Communications)


Source: Prenetics