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Medford-based Chembio Diagnostics CEO takes medical leave

John J. Sperzel, CEO of Medford-based Chembio Diagnostics,

John J. Sperzel, CEO of Medford-based Chembio Diagnostics, is out on medical leave, the company announced Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Above, Sperzel stands in one of Chembio's labs on Oct. 28, 2014. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The chief executive of Chembio Diagnostics Inc. has taken a medical leave, the company announced Wednesday.

The Medford-based manufacturer of rapid tests for infectious diseases disclosed the medical leave for John J. Sperzel in a regulatory filing.

Chembio didn’t say why he went on the leave, or its expected duration. However, company spokeswoman Susan E. Norcott said, “I can tell you that we are looking forward to his return.”

Shares of Chembio fell 15 cents, or more than 2 percent, to close at $6.60 Wednesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock is down 23 percent in the past 12 months.

Chembio’s board of directors appointed Sharon Klugewicz to serve as acting CEO. Klugewicz, 49, has led the company’s operations in North America and South America since last year and is the former chief operating officer.

Before joining Chembio, Klugewicz was senior vice president for scientific and laboratory services at Pall Corp., a Port Washington-based filtration company that was purchased in 2015 by Danaher Corp.

Sperzel, 53, joined Chembio as CEO in March 2014 and has led its expansion into tests for tropical diseases such as Ebola and malaria.

The company reported a loss of $13.3 million last year on sales of $17.9 million. Its payroll totaled 131 people as of Dec. 31.

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