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Chembio partners to develop rapid test for concussions

Chembio Diagnostics, a manufacturer of point-of-care tests for

Chembio Diagnostics, a manufacturer of point-of-care tests for HIV, syphilis, Zika, Ebola and other infectious diseases, plans to consolidate its operations in Hauppauge. Credit: Barry Sloan

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. will develop a rapid test for concussions with a longtime research partner, executives said Tuesday.

The manufacturer of point-of-care tests for HIV, syphilis, Zika, Ebola and other infectious diseases will receive undisclosed funding from Perseus Science Group LLC to develop the test for mild traumatic brain injury or concussion. The test will use a biomarker developed by Perseus, which is based in Connecticut.

Chembio and Perseus have worked together previously on the technical feasibility to detect Perseus’ biomarker.

“Our goal is to be first to market with a point-of-care diagnostic test for concussion,” said Chembio CEO John J. Sperzel. “We believe a rapid diagnostic test, performed with a small drop of fingertip blood will aid in early diagnosis, reduced costs and improved outcomes for patients.”

Concussion often goes undiagnosed for a period. Diagnosis involves a neurological examination, cognitive testing and imaging tests such as CT, MRI and PET scans.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates concussion is the cause of more than 2.5 million emergency room visits annually, one third of them by children.

Sperzel said "it is premature to estimate a market entry date" for the new test because it first must be developed and then meet the approval of regulators.

Separately, Chembio said Tuesday in a securities filing it has begun using robots to produce Dual Path Platform, or DPP, tests at its Medford factory.

“Consistent with our previously announced intention to begin automated production of our DPP tests by the end of the first quarter of 2019, we commenced production of DPP tests on a new, fully automated manufacturing line in March 2019,” the company said.

Chembio plans to consolidate its Medford office and factory and Holbrook warehouse into one building in Hauppauge. The company also has a plant in Malaysia and an office in Germany.

The announcements were made before the stock market opened. Chembio shares closed up more than 8 percent to $6.07 on the Nasdaq stock market Tuesday.

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