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Medford manufacturer to buy Malaysia firm for $3.5 million

Alina Sikar-Gang, a senior scientist at Chembio Diagnostics

Alina Sikar-Gang, a senior scientist at Chembio Diagnostics in Medford. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

A Medford-based manufacturer of rapid tests for HIV, Ebola, Zika and other diseases announced yesterday an agreement to purchase a tests provider in Malaysia for up to $3.5 million.

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. said it would buy RVR Diagnostics Sdn Bhd. The two companies have worked together since 2014.

Executives said the deal would close early next year and also involves Chembio forgiving debts of $250,000. RVR will become a subsidiary of Chembio.

“Our growth plans include expansion into the Asia Pacific region, and we believe a corporate presence in Malaysia, which is centrally located in Southeast Asia, will be a key success factor,” Chembio CEO John Sperzel said yesterday.

He also said RVR “has made excellent progress to establish a high-quality, low-cost manufacturing facility . . . We believe the combination of RVR’s cost-effective manufacturing competence and Chembio’s patented [testing] technology will allow Chembio to accelerate product registrations within Southeast Asia, where the population exceeds 600 million, and also to build a stronger presence in other regions.”

RVR has been the exclusive seller of Chembio’s point-of-care tests for HIV and syphilis in Southeast Asia for the past two years. The company also has collaborated with Chembio on a test for dengue fever that will become available later this year.

RVR’s sales of Chembio products are expected to total $1.5 million this year.

Mac Vajuram, RVR’s managing director, said, “Since its inception, RVR has been capitalized with a combination of the founders’ investments, public grants and research support from the National University of Malaysia, the country’s premier university . . . We believe this transaction will create additional growth opportunities in Asia and other markets.”

Chembio shares rose 1.5 percent to close at $6.95 yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. They are up more than 43 percent in the past 12 months.

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