SpeeDx: Australia-UK FTA gives medtech business long-term confidence in the UK

SpeeDx is a rapidly growing Australian molecular diagnostics company.

‘My job is to try and look a long way ahead for new technology. There’s no point in inventing anything unless you can actually make a difference to people’s lives.’

Dr Alison Todd, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, SpeeDx

It is constantly adding to its portfolio of cutting-edge, clinically relevant tools aimed at improving healthcare around the world.

SpeeDx has a well-established presence in the UK, with a direct operation there since 2017. 

‘Our current product lines do not face any onerous tariffs in the UK. However, the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement does provide us with confidence in long-term protection and uninterrupted supplies,’ SpeeDx CEO Colin Denver says. 

One of the unique technologies SpeeDx has developed is PlexPCR. It detects COVID-19’s causative coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, effectively and quickly. SpeeDx is working towards creating a test that can be taken at home, then sent to the lab. This process is scalable and can support surges in testing capacity as required. 

In September 2021, the UK included SpeeDx in the new Public Health England National Microbiology Framework. This allows the company to supply diagnostic goods and services across the UK. It includes diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted infections, antibiotic resistant markers and respiratory diseases like COVID-19. 

The non-exclusive agreement allows for easier access to SpeeDx products. It supports resilience in the UK’s diagnostic supply chains. 

SpeeDx Director of Sales, Warwick Need, says: ‘We are delighted to be included in the framework. We look forward to working with Public Health England to bring our entire Respiratory and Sexual Health portfolio to the public health system.’ 

Taking SpeeDx technology to get the right test, at the right time, to the world 

It’s the ability to work with world-leading scientists and clinicians, and experts in the field to develop their tests further that motivates the innovative SpeeDx team. 

‘The speciality of SpeeDx is that its molecular diagnostic solutions go beyond simple detection. We offer comprehensive information for improved patient management, by leveraging the technological innovations developed by our researchers in Sydney,’ Denver says.

Austrade has supported long-term focus abroad 

Austrade has been working with SpeeDx on an intensive and focused export program since 2019. 

‘As an organisation deemed to have great potential to contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity, we have benefitted from Austrade’s consistent support and longer-term focus,’ says Denver. 

In August 2021, SpeeDx announced it was expanding its US operations. It will refit and grow its clinical testing facilities in Austin, Texas. 

The facility will house instruments to facilitate clinical trial testing activities and diagnostic services.

‘It has been a long-term goal for us to establish and expand this facility. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated its need, even though it restricted our movement,’ Denver says. 

Austrade’s on-the-ground people helped the US-based SpeeDx team meet with senior members of the US research community. These people are key influencers throughout the US. 

In Japan, the company has also expanded with help from Austrade.

‘We were given good introductions to the organisations and individuals concerned with treating STIs,’ says Denver. ‘This adds to our sales distribution partnership with Roche, the global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is helping us expand global access to our infectious disease and antibiotic resistance tests and technology.’

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