COVID-19 testing facility coming to SCV

PerkinElmer signs lease on building, pictured on Oct. 8, 2020, located at 28454 Livingston Avenue in Valencia. Dan Watson/The Signal
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PerkinElmer, the Massachusetts-based diagnostics company that partnered with California to improve COVID-19 testing efficiency and capacity, has signed a lease in Valencia and could open in early November, officials confirmed Wednesday. 

The company is set to operate at a 134,287-square-foot industrial building that sits on nearly 14 acres of land at 28454 Livingston Ave. Previous businesses located there have included Stellar Microelectronics, a full-service electronics manufacturing services provider; and NEO Tech, a provider of manufacturing and supply chain technology, which now operates in Chatsworth.

PerkinElmer signed the lease in early September, according to Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. 

As of Thursday, an estimated 40 job openings, ranging from molecular genetics scientist to customer support, were listed as based in Valencia on PerkinElmer’s website. 

The diagnostics company has not yet “provided many other details of their plans,” according to Schroeder. 

Requests to confirm the company’s location in Valencia and to receive additional information about the lab have not been returned, but officials with the California Health and Human Services Agency have said details would be released in the coming weeks. 

“As we get closer to the opening of the lab, which is currently slated for early November, we’ll have additional details to share on location,” read an emailed statement from the California Department of Public Health. 

In late August, the California Hospital Association — a member of the state’s testing task force — confirmed in a newsletter the location “will be in Valencia” with an opening date of Nov. 1. 

The lab is expected to increase the number of daily COVID-19 tests up to 150,000 by that date, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in August. 

“The partnership is also expected to decrease the average turnaround time to 24-48 hours (it now stands at about five to seven days), as well as drive down costs, which now average around $150-$200 per test,” the Hospital Association said in a statement, adding that all hospitals will be eligible to use the lab and that it will simultaneously allow for COVID-19 and flu testing.

News of the lease comes as the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative has awarded Ellume USA LLC in Valencia $30 million for scale-up and manufacturing of its COVID-19 antigen tests, officials announced Tuesday. 

Antigen tests can diagnose a COVID-19 infection, as they can detect certain proteins in the virus, within minutes and are relatively inexpensive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Funds are expected to cover Ellume’s two “unique” test cartridges that can return accurate results in 15 minutes or less. One cartridge testing nasal swabs can be read out on two platforms by health care professionals, at the point of care or in laboratory settings for higher throughput. A second cartridge is being developed for home use with a self-administered nasal swab, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

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