Shares of Halifax-based Sona Nanotech more than doubled Friday after the nanoparticle technology company said clinical trials showed its COVID-19 rapid testing kit has a 96 percent sensitivity to the virus.
The company’s shares on the Canadian Stock Exchange surged $3.84 or 123 percent, closing at $6.97 on Friday. The shares opened 2020 at 11 cents, and have produced a 6200 percent return so far this year. The company now has a market value of $374 million.
Sona Nanotech’s improved outlook has come as it adapted its technology, which manufactures rod-shaped gold nanoparticles for use in diagnostic testing, to a rapid test for COVID-19. The company has been conducting clinical trials for these test kits, and late Thursday it announced the lab trials suggest that Sona’s technology can detect SARS-CoV-2 in patients with “low viral loads” in about 15 minutes. Sona also ran an experiment using nasal swabs from 30 human test subjects and irradiated virus samples, with comparable results.
“These excellent performance results . . . [complete] a further milestone achieved for Sona along our path to bring a quality rapid test to market at scale,” said CEO Darren Rowles in the statement. “This will allow expansion of testing by governments, help ease the burden on healthcare systems, keep healthcare workers safe by allowing them to know their status on a daily basis and assist in softening restrictions by providing a quick and simple means to screen individuals.”