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LI drugmaker to collaborate with Japanese pharma giant on diagnostic test

Chembio Diagnostic Systems in Medford

Chembio Diagnostic Systems in Medford Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

A Medford manufacturer will collaborate with giant drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to develop a diagnostic test, executives announced Thursday.

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. said it will work on the research project with Takeda subsidiary Shire Human Genetic Therapies Inc. on the blood test to detect an undisclosed biomarker, or a substance that shows a disease or infection in the body.

Chembio said the project will be funded by Takeda, though an amount was not disclosed. Takeda, with headquarters in Tokyo, is the largest drugmaker in Asia.

Chembio manufactures and sells rapid point-of-care tests for HIV, syphilis, Ebola, Zika and other infectious diseases. Its testing technology and results reader will be used to develop a new test for a Takeda biomarker.

Takeda produces medicine and other treatments in the fields of oncology, gastroenterology and neuroscience. The company also makes vaccines.

Takeda dates to 1781 when founder Chobei Takeda I began selling traditional Japanese and Chinese herbal medicines in Doshomachi, the medicine district of Osaka, Japan. After World War II, the company expanded internationally and established a presence in the United States in the 1990s.

Chembio CEO John J. Sperzel said on Thursday it hopes “to leverage” its testing technology “and our joint scientific expertise, to develop and commercialize a novel point-of-care diagnostic test that can improve health outcomes globally.”

The Takeda research collaboration follows another between Chembio and drugmaker AstraZeneca. That collaboration produced a test that received European certification for sales and distribution in January.

Chembio was to receive up to $2.9 million from AstraZeneca as part of the research project.

The Takeda collaboration was announced before the stock market opened on Thursday. Chembio shares closed up 5 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $5.85 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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