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LI biotech firm plans to quadruple its space, expand hiring

Acutis Diagnostics has grown from 2 employees to more than 100 in three years. The opioid crisis has helped fuel sales and rapid growth, the CEO says. 

Acutis staffers from left: Director of operations Daniela

Acutis staffers from left: Director of operations Daniela Zaborskis, CEO Jibreel Sarij and chief scientific officer Marjorie Bon Homme at the company's headquarters in East Northport. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

A clinical laboratory involved in the fight against opioid addiction and misuse of antibiotics wants to quadruple its space by moving west, from Suffolk County to Nassau, executives said.

Acutis Diagnostics Inc., begun three years ago, has grown from two employees working in 1,000 square feet of space in Farmingdale to more than 100 in 10,000 square feet in East Northport. And the company now is looking to buy a 40,000-square-foot building in Hicksville to meet increased demand for its lab tests.

CEO Jibreel Sarij said recently that the opioid crisis has fueled sales of Acutis’ medication monitoring systems by physicians, drug treatment centers and others. Company tests use saliva or urine to determine a patient’s drug use.

Health care professionals rely on Acutis to determine if patients are taking prescribed medication correctly or abusing a drug, he told a meeting of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

“We have grown because, unfortunately and sadly, there is an epidemic, and we’re providing caretakers an essential tool to be able to identify something that’s only going the wrong way,” Sarij said.

Acutis has applied for IDA tax breaks, including a 20-year reduction in property taxes, to support its $13 million plan to buy and renovate 400 Karin Lane in Hicksville. Last month, the IDA board voted unanimously to negotiate an aid package for the company.

In return for Nassau’s help, Acutis would add the equivalent of 55 full-time jobs to its payroll of 114, which consists of 63 full-time employees and 51 part-timers.

Sarij said 75 percent of the Acutis staff are millennials, most graduates of Long Island colleges. Women make up 65 percent of the workforce, he said.

The Hicksville building that Acutis wants to purchase is home to Cynosure, a medical device company that plans to close in January and move the work of 30 employees to Costa Rica and Massachusetts, according to Cynosure's parent, Hologic Inc.

In addition to combating opioid abuse, Acutis is developing tests that can help physicians diagnose infectious diseases such as respiratory infections, whooping cough and strep throat, and determine whether prescribing an antibiotic is the most effective treatment.

“We are providing physicians with better tools to be able to provide therapy,” Sarij said.

IDA board chairman Richard Kessel said nurturing the local biotechnology industry is a key objective for leaders. “Your company is the kind of company that we want to locate in Nassau County," he said. "You are a great success story."

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