RELAY Medical Lands Takes Off With Toronto Airport Contract

Wow, that didn’t take long.

Just a couple weeks after I profiled Relay Medical Corp (RELA-CSE) and their Fionet testing platform for rapid COVID-19 testing—they pulled off a contract with Canada’s largest airport, Pearson International in Toronto.

The press release went out under the GTAA—Greater Toronto Airport Authority—and named Relay Medical—“… and Relay Medical Corp, who will deploy its digital workflow, testing, and data infrastructure for execution and oversight of this program.”

So RELA-CSE will be in the thick of it! I spoke briefly with Relay CEO Clark Kent. This is officially a ”research” phase, through Canada’s National Research Council (NRC). Given the demand for rapid COVID testing in airports, it’s quite possible this gets much larger this year.

The GTAA is working with a team of Canadian healthcare companies to run a ten-week antigen test study at Toronto Pearson. The study will make free COVID-19 tests available to employees, as well as testing for eligible passengers on select routes who are willing to volunteer as participants.

The study will begin accepting volunteers on March 1. Clinical analysis of test swabs will take place on-site at the airport.

“All the parts of the solution that the GTAA is choosing will run on our Fionet platform,” Kent told me in a quick interview. That’s HUGE—all the other pieces will be handled on Fionet. It sets up Fionet and Relay as the foundation of the system. 

It puts Canada at the forefront of public venue safety—so Relay and its Fionet technology is at leading edge of rapid, mass COVID testing.

“We offer a holistic solution that works for PCR and works for antigen, and we can do large scale rapid testing and noboy else is even talking about the numbers we can test,” says Kent.

“Why us? We can do the job and we are scalabe and compliance with data reporting which is very impotant to operating in Canada. We are a solution that is mature—that is proven on people. 

“Most of the time you start a product and later on you work it out into bigger products—but Fionet was built as a product to service the worst diseases in the worst circumstances with the least infrastructure. And now we are operating this asset in one of the most technical and connected jurisdictions in the world.”

“We were in the infectious disease and pandemic testing business before COVID was a thing.

“When you look at these big tech things, what’s really important to look at is of course, does it work? But also the validation of the system, the validation of the solution, does the solution save you time? Does the solution give you better results? Is the solution reliable? Does the solution work with outstanding compliance and laws in the regions that you’re working in?

We checked all of these boxes, because we didn’t start in this business on COVID Day One, 2020. We started this business five years ago, six years ago, and saying that the gold standard for infectious disease testing is rapid diagnostic tests.”         

 The GTAA program is being subsidized by the government, and while revenue for RELA-CSE may not be huge to start, it provides that all-important first contract and validates them in the eyes of the investment community and the industry. 

Raising money, getting new customers—all got a lot easier with a large early adopter client like the GTAA.

Toronto Pearson is Canada’s largest and busiest airport—30th in the world overall and 2nd in North America for international travel–serving more than 50 million passengers in 2019, and one of only four airports accepting international flights into Canada.

Every airport in North America is going to study Relay’s Fionet platform. The sales hopper just deepened dramatically! 

This puts Relay above the crowd. There’s lots of technology and business models out there right now—everyone rightly sees COVID-testing in large venues as a social necessity for a few years.

The other huge factor here is the experience that RELA personnel will develop.  There will be a lot of learning in these early days, and that expertise will be a huge competitive edge in other bids. Cost structures, people flow and other logistics will become apparent and RELA-CSE will have all that information that nobody else can get without actual experience.

Kent says he is already getting lots of calls from other large venue markets, especially in the travel markets. So while this is a BIG contract—arguably the biggest one could get in Canada—I expect it’s only the first.

Disclaimer—In the last 12 months, Relay Medical has  been a paying client of the Corporate Bulletin