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Chembio Diagnostics sales fall 46 percent, loss widens

John J. Sperzel is the CEO of Chembio

John J. Sperzel is the CEO of Chembio Diagnostics, which is located in Medford. He is shown here in one of the company's labs on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. on Thursday reported sharply wider losses for the July-September period compared with a year earlier as sales of its rapid diagnostic tests fell 46percent.

The Medford-based manufacturer of point-of-care tests for HIV, Ebola, malaria and other tropical diseases said its loss totaled $2.1 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, up from a loss of $437,000 a year ago.

Sales in the third quarter fell to $3.8 million from $6.9 million a year earlier.

CEO John Sperzel said sales of HIV and syphilis tests had dropped in the past six months but would increase in the future.

He said there is “strong evidence that we are effectively rebuilding” sales of HIV tests in the United States, which used to be handled by a third-party distributor until Chembio assumed that responsibility in stages, beginning in June 2014.

Sperzel also said Chembio is making progress in bringing to market a blood test for Zika, a virus spread primarily by mosquitoes that causes severe birth defects.

“We believe Chembio is on a path to establish a global operation with potential for growth in several important markets,” he said.

The company employs 155 people in Medford and Holbrook, and last week announced the purchase of a small tests manufacturer in Malaysia for $3.5 million.

Chembio shares closed down 15 cents, or more than 2 percent, to $6.70 on the Nasdaq stock market. Shares have climbed $1.41, or 26 percent, in the past year.

CORRECTION: Sales at Chembio Diagnostics fell 46 percent in the most recent quarter from a year earlier. An earlier version of this story gave the wrong percentage change.


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