Wolf Administration: Medical Device Company OraSure Expansion to Increase COVID-19 Testing Capabilities, Bring New Jobs
August 11, 2020
Governor Tom Wolf announced that OraSure Technologies Inc., a developer and manufacturer of rapid diagnostic tests, collection and stabilization devices headquartered in Northampton County, will expand its manufacturing operations in the Lehigh Valley, creating 177 new, full-time jobs and retaining 233 jobs.
“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 Gov. Wolf. “OraSure Technologies has been a staple in Bethlehem for decades, and my administration is pleased to support their expansion in the commonwealth.”
OraSure received a funding proposal from the 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 Manufacturing Tax Credit (MTC) program and the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit program.
“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,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “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.”
OraSure (NASDAQ: OSUR) is developing a rapid antigen self-test that would detect active COVID-19 infection with no need to transport samples to a lab for processing. Individuals would be able to easily self-collect a sample and read the results themselves a short time later. The company intends to submit the antigen test to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization allowing for the rapid self-test to debut into the U.S. market.
OraSure is also developing a highly accurate, lab-based Antibody ELISA Test that would detect prior COVID-19 infection. The company plans to submit the ELISA test to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization.
“One of the keys to stopping the spread of COVID-19 is expanding access to testing,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “I want to thank OraSure for its commitment to saving lives, not just in Pennsylvania, but throughout the world.”
The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania. The company has pledged to invest $7.5 million into the project.
The expansion will support the creation of 177 well-paying manufacturing jobs at OraSure Technologies’ four Bethlehem locations.
“OraSure has a legacy of helping to solve the world’s most difficult diagnostic challenges. 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,” said OraSure President and CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D. “We are proud of our dedicated Pennsylvania team members and the extraordinary work they do. We thank Governor Wolf and his team for the ability to retain and grow our Bethlehem workforce.”
OraSure’s portfolio of products is sold globally to clinical laboratories, hospitals, physician’s offices, clinics, public health and community-based organizations, research institutions, government agencies, pharma, commercial entities and direct to consumers.