Brisbane biotech firm Ellume puts Australian branch into administration

The Australian branch of a Brisbane-based biotech company that struck a $300 million deal to ship home COVID-19 test kits to the US has entered voluntary administration.

An Ellume creditors’ meeting will be held later this month. Ellume’s US business is not affected.

Ellume rose to fame last year when he signed an agreement with the US Department of Defense to provide home COVID testing kits.

Last October, the company hit a snag when some of the test kits were recalled in the US after a spike in false positives.

At the time, Ellume said roughly 190,000 of the 3.5 million tests sent to the US had been recalled.

It is not yet clear whether the dismissal played any role in the decision to place the company into administration.

FTI Consulting’s John Park said he and Joanne Dunne were appointed to “maximize the chances that Ellume will exit the administration process in an orderly manner”.

“The administrators intend to trade the business as usual while we conduct an independent assessment of the financial position and continued viability of the business,” Park said.

Two scientists in lab coats and hairnets sitting at a desk.
CEO and founder of Ellume Dr. Sean Parsons (left) in his Brisbane lab.(ABC News: Jessica Rendall)

Ellume’s CEO and founder, Dr. Sean Parsons, said the company’s goal was “to spark a revolution in the way infectious diseases are diagnosed.”

“I am incredibly proud of Ellume’s achievements in what has been a dynamic, challenging and unprecedented time,” he said.

“We are initiating a voluntary stewardship process for the Australian company to help determine the best course of action to secure and strengthen Ellume’s future.”

The company has also received funding from the state government.

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