COVID testing company brings hundreds of manufacturing jobs to Utah

Ogden— MicroGEM, a Virginia-based molecular diagnostics company, announced its acquisition of Jump Start Manufacturing LLC (Jump Start), a New Hampshire-based engineering company with proven success in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. The acquisition allows MicroGEM to rapidly scale production of its innovative Spitfire 6830 SARS-CoV-2 testing system, a high-performance, PCR-based point-of-need saliva test.

MicroGEM also announced it has established a new large-scale production facility in Ogden, Utah, expanding its manufacturing in the U.S. The facility, with 69,000 square feet, and an additional new large-scale production facility in Hudson, New Hampshire, gives MicroGEM the capability of producing 160,000 tests per day. The expansion will create a total of 500 jobs, bringing hundreds of new manufacturing positions to Utah. MicroGEM also has a pilot-scale manufacturing facility in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“We are proud to join forces with the talented Jump Start team to accelerate the production and deployment of our innovative Spitfire 6830 COVID-19 testing system,” said MicroGEM CEO Jeff Chapman. “Bringing Jump Start’s leading manufacturing capabilities and expertise under the MicroGEM umbrella and dramatically expanding our production capabilities will ensure that more Americans have greater access to high-quality COVID-19 tests – bringing key tools to help end this devastating pandemic.”

Said U.S. Rep. Blake Morre, (UT-01): “I am thrilled to welcome MircoGEM to Ogden as the First District becomes part of their critical work to provide rapid COVID-19 tests to thousands of Americans each day. MicroGEM will bring hundreds of jobs to the Ogden area, allowing northern Utah to keep answering the call to the pressing challenges presented by the pandemic.”

MicroGEM’s Spitfire 6830 system is designed to detect SARS-CoV-2 in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The system is currently in final stages of development with preparations underway for a submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization.

“The unique capability of Spitfire to quickly provide highly sensitive and specific identification of SARS-CoV-2 from saliva samples puts MicroGEM at the cutting edge of point-of-need diagnostics,” said Jump Start founder, Thomas Moran, who joins MicroGEM as Chief Operations Officer overseeing all manufacturing locations and activities. “Jump Start is thrilled to join the MicroGEM team, enabling us to help bring this low-cost, high-quality test to market while ensuring our Jump Start customers continue to receive the high-touch service they expect and deserve.”

MicroGEM’s Spitfire project has been funded in part by the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx ) initiative with federal funds from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. 75N92020C00015.

About Jump Start

Based in Nashua, New Hampshire, Jump Start is an engineering company established in 2006 with a successful record managing product launches for a variety of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, with expertise in medical devices. Jump Start offers a full range of engineering solutions, including machine design, manufacturing engineering, and a mechanical engineering laboratory, quickly implementing manufacturing solutions and process improvements with ‘concierge-style’ service. Jump Start’s manufacturing expertise includes complex projects such as self-heating products, high precision medical infusion systems, and drug delivery systems. Under the MicroGEM umbrella, Jump Start will continue to provide all existing services to its customers with no interruption while increasing its capacity to offer a wider breadth of capabilities to its clients.

About MicroGEM

MicroGEM is democratizing molecular diagnostics by moving molecular techniques out of conventional, highly skilled laboratories to non-laboratory settings. The company’s innovative enzymatic approach to nucleic acid extraction provides the foundation for rapid sample preparation suitable for PCR analysis. Coupled with MicroGEM’s expertise in microfluidics and synthetic biology, the company is creating portable diagnostic devices, representing the next generation of rapid, point-of-need solutions for the management of infectious diseases and other personalized medicine applications.