// Boohoo co-founder Mahmud Kamani teams up with investment bank Zeus Capital founder, Richard Hughes for the launch
// Cambridge-based Avacta has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Medusa19, a venture set up by Kamani and Hughes
Boohoo co-founder Mahmud Kamani has teamed up with a biotech firm to help launch direct-to-consumer sales of a saliva-based rapid test for the Covid-19 antigen.
Cambridge-based Avacta signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Medusa19, a venture set up by Kamani and investment bank Zeus Capital founder Richard Hughes, to sell the tests to consumers online.
Medusa19 will also have non-exclusive rights to supply the tests to businesses for workforce screening.
Hughes is a founding shareholder of Boohoo and led its 2014 flotation.
Zeus Capital most recently coordinated Boohoo’s £200 million equity fundraising to finance further acquisitions.
The online retailer revealed its intention to acquire new brands less than 24 hours after launching the fundraising to tap shareholders.
The focus will be on home testing.
The saliva-based test could give a result within minutes and will tell if someone has transmitted coronavirus regardless of whether they have symptoms.
“We immediately recognised the global opportunity to distribute the simple and unique saliva-based Covid-19 rapid test,” Hughes and Kamani said.
“It 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.”