Rapid blood test company Atomo Diagnostics, which has recently pivoted to supplying kits for COVID-19 antibody tests, has more its debut on the ASX at more than double its initial public offering price.
It is the first float on the ASX in six weeks, since junior gold explorer Kaiser Reef listed on February 28.
“This is a hugely significant day in Atomo’s history,” co-founder and managing director John Kelly said.
Atomo began the listing process to fund further commercialisation of its HIV self-test kit, but when the pandemic struck during the offer period executives quickly realised that as an infectious disease testing company, Atomo was “uniquely positioned to make a major impact within the COVID-19 environment,” Mr Kelly said.
“We are now well-capitalised and able to quickly move to meet the significant global demand for reliable rapid testing for COVID-19 in the community,” he said.
The Sydney-based company has already agreed to supply 947,200 of its blood test devices to French diagnostic company NG Biotech, which is using adapting the kits to screen for COVID-19 antibodies and supplying them to the French Ministry of Defence.
The company is also in talks with two American COVID-19 test manufacturers and has begun conversations with Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration about approval here.
Atomo’s HIV Self-Test requires just a pinprick of blood, returns results in just 15 minutes and is available in Australia via online ordering for just $25.
Atomo co-founder and managing director John Kelly told AAP that its COVID-19 tests would be priced similarly.
“We certainly don’t want to take advantage of the pandemic,” he said.
Right now COVID-19 tests are being approved under emergency pathways that only allow for professional use, rather than self-testing, but Mr Kelly hoped that would change to take pressure off the health care system.
Atomo’s integrated devices feature a built-in lancet for drawing blood and a simple result panel similar to a pregnancy test.
They are designed to be sold to diagnostic test manufacturers, which then supply their own diagnostic chemistry strips for on-sale to health care professionals and end-users.
The antibody tests will not replace the molecular nasal swab tests currently widely used but rather supplement them, Mr Kelly said.
Atomo raised $30 million in its IPO at 20 cents a share.
At 1334 AEDT its shares were trading for 41 cents, giving Atomo a market capitalisation of $229.6 million and an enterprise value of $164.6 million.
Atomo shares had earlier hit a high of 63 cents.
The company declared a $2.0 million first-half loss on $937,000 revenue, according to its prospectus.
Key shareholders include billionaire property developer Lang Walker, former Macquarie Bank chief executive Allan Moss and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-backed social impact investor Global Health Investment Fund.