Brisbane Covid testing company Ellume appoints administrators, 180 jobs at risk

An Australian rapid Covid-19 testing company has gone into administration just two years after making international headlines for securing a multi-million dollar settlement with US health authorities.

On Thursday, the Australian division of Brisbane-based biotech Ellume entered voluntary administration.

Ellume was founded in 2009 by Dr. Sean Parsons and, according to an Ellume spokesperson, employs 180 people in Australia.

The biotech company’s operations in the US are separate and are not affected by the appointment of directors.

Ellume came into the public spotlight after signing a contract with the Biden administration in December 2020 to supply Americans with rapid home test kits for Covid.

The deal was supposed to net them $300 million, but two years later they reportedly racked up massive losses.

According to reports filed at ASIC since 2020, the company has lost $100 million due to a combination of Covid RATs that are widely available in the US and also a costly lawsuit that did not rule in its favor.

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According to results reported to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Ellume was in the red for some time, despite the massive deal it struck with the US.

In fiscal year 2020-2021, it lost $17 million.

In the most recent reporting period, Ellume lost a whopping $87.9 million.

Of those losses, Ellume lost approximately $25 million after having to recall 2 million products.

Some of their tests showed false positives, prompting customers to launch a class action lawsuit against the company that forced them to pause manufacturing operations while they fixed the issue.

Ellume’s report says the product recall had a “significant impact on the group’s operations and liquidity.”

The company’s survival was also not helped by the fact that earlier this year the US government made rapid tests largely accessible and free, spent $1 billion on the company and put Ellume largely out of business.

In a statement to, CEO and founder Dr Sean Parsons said: “We set out to spark a revolution in the way infectious diseases are diagnosed.

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

“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.”

John Park and Joanne Dunn of FTI Consulting were appointed administrators.

Park said in a statement to “The administrators will seek 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 make an independent assessment of the financial position and continued viability of the business.”

The creditors’ meeting will be held in mid-September.

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