OraSure Technologies To Create, Retain 410 Jobs with Lehigh Valley Expansion
By Colin McEvoy on August 11, 2020
OraSure Technologies will be expanding its manufacturing operations in Lehigh Valley to help meet demands for its new in-home coronavirus self-test. The expansion will mean the creation and retention of more than 400 jobs in the region.
OraSure, a home-grown Bethlehem-based developer and manufacturer of point-of-care diagnostic tests and specimen collection devices, will be investing $7.5 million into the expansion project, which will create 177 new full-time jobs and retain 233 more.
“OraSure Technologies is an embodiment of Lehigh Valley’s thriving life sciences sector, as well as the region’s impressive history of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). “They are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19, and we are proud they are manufacturing and creating jobs here in Lehigh Valley.”
The company is developing the OraQuick® Coronavirus Rapid Antigen Self-test, which individuals will be able to administer themselves and read the results in the privacy and safety of their own homes.
The coronavirus antigen self-test will use oral fluid samples, and will detect current infection regardless if a person is showing symptoms. No instrumentation or trained personnel will be needed to administer the test or to read the results, nor would samples need to be transported to a lab for processing.
“OraSure has a legacy of helping to solve the world’s most difficult diagnostic challenges,” said OraSure President & CEO Stephen S. Tang. “Increased COVID-19 testing will be critical as we reopen our economy. We believe our rapid antigen test will be a game changer that enables frequent testing with fast results.”
OraSure has always been on the front lines when it comes to public health crises. It was first to develop an in-home oral HIV test for over-the-counter use, and when the Ebola virus struck West Africa five years ago, the federal government sought OraSure’s help in designing a rapid test to screen patients.
“At a time when the commonwealth is ramping up COVID-19 testing, OraSure Technologies’ expansion will bring both economic opportunities to the region and increased testing accessibility,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. “OraSure Technologies has been a staple in Bethlehem for decades, and my administration is pleased to support their expansion in the commonwealth.”
OraSure intends to submit its COVID-19 antigen test to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization allowing for the rapid self-test to debut into the U.S. market.
Additionally, the company is developing a highly accurate, lab-based Antibody ELISA Test that would detect prior COVID-19 infection, which it also plans to submit to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization.
OraSure received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $531,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $531,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs.
The company may also be eligible for the state’s Manufacturing Tax Credit program and Research and Development Tax Credit program, according to DCED Secretary Dennis Davin.
“OraSure’s expansion means so much for Pennsylvania, including new career opportunities in the Lehigh Valley and increased testing capability for the state as a whole,” Davin said. “As the commonwealth reopens safely, quick, accessible and accurate testing is critical for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and as we keep the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians our first priority.”
Tang previously said being headquartered in the Lehigh Valley has been a tremendous asset for the company, particularly due to its close proximity to other major metropolitan areas in the Northeast, and the excellent pool of talented workers being generated by the region’s robust educational system.
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