AN OXFORD-based company producing coronavirus antibody tests has a new major stakeholder.

Asset management firm Mercia has sold its almost 50 per cent stake in The Native Antigen Company. The deal, worth £18m, sees the shares go to LGC, a global leader in life sciences.

The Native Antigen Company was one of the first to start production of the Covid-19 antigens in February, which can be used to test if see if somebody has had the virus.

ALSO READ: More than 3,000 coronavirus cases in Oxfordshire

Dr Nick Roesen, chief executive of the firm, said: “Joining LGC is a very exciting new phase in the development of the Native Antigen Company.

"We will be an integral part of LGC’s fast growing clinical diagnostics business and we are excited to join such a well-respected organisation that shares our purpose and mission, and that will support our diagnostic customers by providing even more world-leading products and services."

Mercia has supported The Native Antigen Company since it started trading and held a 49.4 per cent stake in the business.