Photo of Ellume's facility in Frederick, MD

Ellume Celebrates Grand Opening of First American Facility in Frederick, MD

Governor Larry Hogan joined dozens of attendees at Ellume‘s grand opening in Frederick on March 31 to welcome the diagnostics manufacturer to Frederick County. Ellume’s 215,000-square-foot production facility on Executive Way has been up and running since February 2022, only ten months after the company signed a lease with Matan Properties

“They chose Maryland. They could have gone other places,” said Hogan during the ceremony. “But they chose Maryland because of our proximity to the nation’s capital, and … because we’re home to world-class research centers and one of the top bio health clusters in America.”

Ellume Founder and CEO Dr. Sean Parsons gives remarks (Credit: Ellume)

County Executive Jan Gardner also officially welcomed Ellume at the ceremony, thanking the Australian company for choosing Frederick County as the site of their first North American location. She mentioned that the county’s Fast Track Permitting process helped get the company up and running as fast as it did. 

“I’m very proud that Frederick County government has helped Ellume to move their plans forward quickly,” Gardner said. “And we know timing is always really important.”

Ellume said it would initially bring 200 jobs to the county, with up to 1,500 jobs at total capacity. The facility can also produce about 15 million COVID-19 home tests per month. Currently, the facility is making about 12,500 per day through its manufacturing process, which incorporates both automated and manual assembly.

Ambassador Paul Myler, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C., shared that he first heard about Ellume in March of 2020. COVID-19 had been raging in China for a few months but had just started spreading in America. 

MD Governor Larry Hogan visits the Ellume site in Frederick (Credit: Bill Green)

Dr. Sean Parsons, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Ellume, reached out to him, expressing he had a diagnostic test for the virus and needed help getting it to America.  

“The story of Ellume from Brisbane to Maryland and this [215,000] square feet facility is just an incredible achievement in speed and agility, continuing the leading role of Australian innovators and bringing groundbreaking medical innovations to market,” Ambassador Myler said.

Ellume’s home diagnostic test was the first of its kind approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. It is also the only at-home antigen test to use fluorescent detection technology, which is usually reserved for use by healthcare professionals and clinical laboratories. Ellume also implements sample quality controls to support accurate results. 

Ellume’s COVID-19 home test manufacturing capabilities in action (Credit: Bill Green)

At the grand opening ceremony, Dr. Parsons spoke on how he first started Ellume. When he was a practicing physician in 2010, he watched as an otherwise healthy 40-year-old man struggled to survive in intensive care due to a case of the swine flu. The reality hit Dr. Parsons that science has still not outsmarted the flu despite decades of immense medical progress. 

“It struck me then that someone gave the flu to him, and that person who gave it to him got it from somebody else, who in turn got it from somebody else,” Dr. Parsons said. “If we could break just one of those links, then we could prevent this man from being in intensive care.”

Thus, he began work on Ellume’s first diagnostic test. When the COVID-19 pandemic arose, the company adapted its flu products to COVID-19. With the help of a $30 million investment from the U.S. National Institutes of Health RADx initiative, the company could get the product on the market quickly and eventually meet the need to scale to America.

“One of the reasons that America is the leader of the free world is an innate understanding that new technology is the way to solve these difficult problems,” Dr. Parsons shared. “That the engagement between government institutions and corporations is how to get that done and how to create economic and health benefits for Americans for years and decades to come.”

Today, he hopes to continue creating products that can help the world persist through future epidemics and pandemics, including those caused by the flu and COVID-19. The highly flexible and adaptable nature of Ellume’s Frederick facility allows it to pivot to meet new needs as they arise. 

“It’s a long-term strategic asset, the manufacturing of next-generation diagnostics,” Dr. Parsons said. 

Read more on the announcement in Ellume’s recent press release.