Shown above is the DiaTrust rapid COVID-19 test kit produced by South Korea’s top drugmaker Celltrion, which signed a mega-sized contract to supply the test kits to the U.S. military. Photo courtesy of Celltrion.

Korean firm will supply rapid COVID-19 test kit in contract worth $626 million

South Korea’s leading biopharmaceutical company Celltrion recently said that it had secured a mega-sized contract to supply rapid COVID-19 test kits to the United States military.

Under the deal, Celltrion USA will deliver its DiaTrust kits to around 25,000 places designated by the U.S. side, the Defense Logistics Agency under the Department of Defense.

Included in the places are military bases, long-term care facilities, community testing sites, and critical infrastructure. The procurement contract is valued at up to $626 million.

The diagnostic kits, which should be used in the presence of medical professionals, can diagnose the coronavirus infection within 15 minutes with improved sensitivity of 93.3 percent and specificity of 99 percent, according to Celltrion.

That means that DiaTrust can correctly find the infection with the possibility of 93.3 percent and virus-free patients with the possibility of 99 percent.

Celltrion claimed that the procurement contract underscores Celltrion’s quality, production, and supply capabilities as the deal has been awarded after the Department of Defense’s rigorous verification.

In addition, the company emphasized its streamlined drug distribution performance in the U.S. market will demonstrate its ability to perform timely deliveries to 25,000 designated places in the U.S., at a competitive price.

“The fact that we were awarded a procurement contract by the DLA after having passed its strict screen process is a recognition of Celltrion’s technology and supply capability,” Celltrion USA CEO Kim Bon-joong said.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic still not showing signs of waning, we plan to focus on executing this contract as diligently as possible and further solidify the external credibility of Celltrion’s diagnostic test kits portfolio.”

Celltrion is located in Incheon, west of Seoul. Celltrion USA is the company’s subsidiary in the U.S., the world’s biggest market for biopharmaceutical products.

The U.S. accounts for around 40 percent of the market, followed by China, Japan, Germany, and France.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.