BioFire Dx receives first FDA marketing clearance for SARS-CoV-2 respiratory panel

BioMeriéux subsidiary BioFire Diagnostics has been granted de novo clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its Respiratory Panel 2.1, the agency said on Wednesday. The test is the first SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic to transition from an Emergency Use Authorization status and be permitted to be marketed beyond the public health emergency.

Janet Woodcock, FDA acting commissioner, called the de novo clearance “a great demonstration” of the FDA’s efforts to protect public health.

“While this is the first marketing authorization for a diagnostic test using a traditional premarket review process, we do not expect this to be the last and look forward to working with developers of medical products to move their products through our traditional review pathways,” Woodcock said in the statement.

The BioFire FilmArray RP2.1 detects 22 different viruses and bacteria associated with respiratory tract infections, including SARS-CoV-2, from a single nasopharyngeal swab. It yields results in 45 minutes with two minutes of hands-on time and can be run on the firm’s fully automated FilmArray 2.0 as well as the higher-throughput BioFire Torch systems. 

The FilmArray RP2.1 was originally authorized under the Emergency Use pathway in May, 2020. Prior to that, the firm obtained EUA for a singleplex SARS-CoV-2 test it developed for the FilmArray system.

In its statement, FDA noted that the de novo clearance was based in part on a review of data from a clinical study of more than 500 samples as well as other analytical studies, “which demonstrated a reasonable assurance that the BioFire RP2.1 was safe and effective at identification and differentiation of various respiratory viral and bacterial pathogens.” 

In addition, this action also creates a new regulatory classification, “which means that subsequent devices of the same type with the same intended use may go through the FDA’s 510(k) pathway, whereby devices can obtain clearance by demonstrating substantial equivalence to a predicate device,” FDA said.