Startup Aims to Produce 10,000 COVID-19 Kits a Day at Los Angeles Lab

Rachel Uranga

Rachel Uranga is dot.LA's Managing Editor, News. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.

Startup Aims to Produce 10,000 COVID-19 Kits a Day at Los Angeles Lab

At a 10,000 square foot San Dimas lab, Fred Turner is furiously trying to save people from COVID-19.

The head of a Bay Area startup known as Curative Inc. arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday, on a near empty flight, as he launched a production facility to produce coronavirus testing kits. They'll be deployed to drive-thru testing centers across the United States, which National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said was severely lagging other countries in determining how widespread the virus is.

Turner's startup is "aiming to add 10,000 test per day capacity in about two weeks," he said. "We can now do 50 a day, by Monday 150, and the end of the week 1,000 a day."


Los Angeles County, home to more than 10 million people, has suffered like other parts of the country with a shortage of tests. So far, county officials said about 250 people have been tested as of March 11. Stories abound of sick patients who want to see if they have COVID-19 but can't because there's a shortage of kits and labs that can analyze them.

In Denver, one city that has set up drive-thru testing centers, there are reports of four-hour waits.

"We thought the big testing labs would have it under control, but it became apparent to us that there wasn't enough testing," he said. Turner, whose company normally works on trying to prevent deaths due to sepsis, said his team was working on scaling up a manual testing process often used in research and development labs to create kits.

Unlike other labs which rely on off-the shelf testing kits and automated machines, Turner will use a process that requires more steps to extract information from RNA to determine whether or not somebody has the virus.

He was helped earlier this month by federal officials who issued emergency authorization for labs to develop tests.

Turner said his tests will provide results within 24 hours and eliminate unnecessary risk to health care workers by using saliva samples taken from a swab, rather than nasal ones which require a nurse. "The largest deficit right now is not screening health care workers," he said. "That's just unacceptable."

On Wednesday, the union representing California nurses staged protests around the state calling for more stringent workplace safety guidelines than those provided by Center for Disease Control, which it says leaves them at risk for contracting the virus.

Working with Bay Area startup 650Health, along with another company, Turner aims to get the tests distributed at drive-thru clinics, at homes, and through employers.

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Greater Good Health Raises $10M To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10M To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled $10 million in new funding led by LRVHealth, adding to $3 million in seed funding raised by the startup last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

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Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

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