Zika virus

Chembio’s dengue field test earns Brazilian nod

By GREGORY ZELLER // Add another critical Brazilian regulatory approval to Chembio Diagnostics’ portfolio. The Medford-based point-of-care diagnostics specialist announced this its week the Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária, Brazil’s federal health-regulatory agency, has approved Chembio’s DPP Dengue System. The test allows “simultaneous and discrete” detection of antibodies against all four dengue serotypes, covering both active infection by dengue virus and prior exposure to the virus – critical measures for both treatment and surveillance of…


Down, but hardly out, at comeback-primed Chembio

By GREGORY ZELLER // Operating and net losses that more than tripled year-over-year tell only part of the story of Chembio Diagnostic Systems Inc.’s first quarter. That was the message Tuesday from John Sperzel III, chief executive of the point-of-care diagnostics specialist, who addressed investors in a conference call after the firm shared the results of the first quarter of its fiscal 2017, which ended March 31. It was another down quarter for the Medford-based…


In Brazil, a big forward step for Chembio

The national health-regulatory agency of Brazil has approved commercial use of Chembio Diagnostics’ rapid field rest for the Zika virus – a major step toward selling the product in the Zika-ravaged Brazilian market. Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) has greenlighted the DPP Zika IgM/IgG Assay, which detects antibodies using a tiny drop of blood and provides “semi-quantitative results” in 15 minutes, according to the company, using Chembio Diagnostics’ patented virus-detection platform and a…


Codagenix commences Zika vaccine testing

By GREGORY ZELLER // Farmingdale biotech Codagenix Inc. has commenced the first tests of its potential Zika virus vaccines in a living host. In a noteworthy display of speed sure to impress the medical community and potential investors alike, the 2012 startup began in vivo testing of its live-attenuated Zika virus vaccine candidates earlier this month – just 27 days after it plugged Zika into its proprietary, synthetic biology-based vaccine-design platform. The safety and efficacy study…


Sales drop, tax bite sting Chembio Diagnostics

Medford biotech Chembio Diagnostic Systems Inc. took it on the chin in the second quarter, with steep losses attributed to declining sales for its infectious-disease detectors and a one-time, multimillion-dollar tax provision. According to quarterly financials released Thursday, the company – dba Chembio Diagnostics – reported total revenues of $3.27 million in the quarter ended June 30, a 51 percent drop from the $6.72 million reported for 2Q 2015. Quarterly product sales plunged nearly 68…


Some pig: USDA, Codagenix target swine flu

By GREGORY ZELLER // With Zika virus, Foot and Mouth Disease and other global threats already in its crosshairs, Farmingdale biotech Codagenix Inc. is challenging another high-profile opponent: swine flu. A Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will fund research and development of an influenza vaccine for swine using Codagenix’s proprietary software platform, which “re-codes” viruses to create and test potential vaccines. Research and development under the $99,710…


Move complete, Codagenix takes aim at Zika

By GREGORY ZELLER // Be afraid, Zika virus. With 1,500 square feet of new wet-lab space and buckets of confidence, the big thinkers at Codagenix are targeting your chemical code – with a candidate vaccine likely ready for animal testing inside of six weeks. So says J. Robert Coleman, the Farmingdale State College biology professor who cofounded the 2012 startup with Stony Brook University assistant research professor Steffen Mueller. Zika is a flavivirus – a…


Chembio misses on drop in Latin American biz

By GREGORY ZELLER // An oversupplied Latin American market put a dent in Chembio Diagnostic’s 2015 earnings, but coming battles with the Zika virus may turn fortunes around. That was the message to investors Tuesday as CEO John Sperzel III reported the Medford firm’s financials for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015. While the company’s science – point-of-care diagnostic tests for infectious diseases – is in increasing demand, the numbers were not great. Chembio’s reported…


Catching you up on the Zika virus

By GREGORY ZELLER // With one confirmed Zika virus case already recorded and a dozen concerned calls coming every day from pregnant women, Northwell Health has opened its second Zika-focused clinic in as many months. The former North Shore-LIJ Health System this week announced the opening of the Zika in Pregnancy Clinic at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. The Pregnancy Clinic won’t do actual Zika virus testing, but will help calm the fears of…


Chembio lands $550K grant for Zika test

Chembio Diagnostics has been awarded a $550,000 “catalyst grant” to develop a rapid test for the Zika virus and similar maladies. The grant comes from Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, who has a long history of supporting Chembio’s research efforts, most recently surrounding the Ebola outbreak. Company officials said Chembio will develop a test to detect Zika alone, and another to detect Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses. The company also will add Zika to a six-virus…


Codagenix preps for fight against Zika virus

By GREGORY ZELLER // A Stony Brook startup that digitally recreates viruses in order to reprogram their genomes is preparing to take on the Zika virus, which World Health Organization officials said Thursday is “spreading explosively” through the Americas. Codagenix, a 2012 startup cofounded by Farmingdale State College biology professor J. Robert Coleman and former Stony Brook University assistant research professor Steffen Mueller, is keeping a close eye on the migration of the virus, which…