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Jabil announced the next step in its manufacturing and supply chain collaboration with ams OSRAM, a global leader in optical solutions, with the development of a lateral flow testing platform. The COVID-19 pandemic brought the topic of testing to the forefront, validating the importance of reliable and robust lab-quality testing that can be conducted remotely and with fast turnaround times. With the role of testing only increasing in the future for infectious diseases beyond the current crisis, the teams at ams OSRAM and Jabil saw an opportunity to bring these lateral flow tests into the digital age, leveraging optics and connectivity technologies to simplify patient experience and deliver clear results in approximately 15 minutes.
“Within ams OSRAM, we had a project focused on the digitization of lateral flow testing prior to the pandemic. COVID-19 accelerated the demand for decentralized testing, and we needed a partner that could help us bring our solution to market quickly and at high volumes,” said Wim Renirie, ams OSRAM’s vice president and general manager of BL Accessory and Wearable Solutions. “With Jabil, we found a partner that could meet our high volumes and manage unpredictable demand as the situation evolved.”
When Jabil joined the project in the spring of 2020, supply chains were already constrained due to border closures, plant shutdowns and staffing reductions in logistics and manufacturing. Supply chain orchestration rapidly became a top priority, with Jabil’s supply chain managers identifying the product’s vital components and leveraging their supplier relationships to procure the necessary parts at both the required volumes and the most competitive prices.
“The path for time-to-market was very aggressive. ams OSRAM was looking to have the product in market in less than 12 months,” said Jeffrey Roberts, business unit director for Jabil Healthcare. “We were starting with a whiteboard, with a brand-new circuit board design and new manufacturing processes for this device. To achieve this in less than 12 months was one of the toughest timelines we have ever had to achieve.”
Together, ams OSRAM and Jabil designed the test’s essential component — a complete printed circuit board assembly (PCBA), manufactured by Jabil, that leverages ams OSRAM’s spectral sensing technology. An LED illuminates the lateral flow test, and a highly sensitive spectral sensor reads the color of the line, providing an objective “positive” or “negative” result. The connection module sends that result via Bluetooth to a cloud-based smartphone app that clearly states the patient’s COVID-19 status.
The ambitious timeline for securing all required regulatory clearances and getting the device to market galvanized the teams' collaboration, clarifying what each brought to the table to beat the clock and get the job done. ams OSRAM was able to rely upon Jabil's broad technical capabilities, particularly relating to diagnostics and optics technologies as well as Jabil's extensive healthcare manufacturing certifications. Also, with over 30 ISO 13485-certified medical device manufacturing sites located around the world, Jabil had the ability to support production across all time zones and in nearly every market.
The success of ams OSRAM and Jabil’s joint endeavor was about more than just successful manufacturing. The two companies are just beginning to explore the potential applications for this device beyond COVID-19, from diabetes to veterinary testing.
“The work we have completed on this technology is available for licensing by other companies looking to implement lateral flow technology and could accelerate standard development timelines by months. This is giving new life to lateral flow testing for the next 10 to 20 years because you open up a whole range of new use cases,” said Renirie.