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Made Right Here: Orasure

By Amy Unger, Reporter, AUnger@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 10 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 11 2013 05:51:24 PM CST

It's been called a "game changer" in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

It's been called a "game changer" in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Last year's release of the "OraQuick In-Home HIV Test" solidified its maker as a heavyweight in the global health care market.

It's just one of the products that's "Made Right Here" at Bethlehem's Orasure.

Getting results quickly is Orasure's thing.

"Early diagnosis is critical to help patients manage their future health more effectively," said president and CEO of Orasure Douglas Michels.

The Bethlehem-based company makes a variety of diagnostic tests that deliver rapid results.

"We Sell our products all around the world," said Michels.

It's probably best known for its two flagship products.

"We have both a rapid test for HIV, it's a market leading product as well as a rapid test for Hepatitis C," said Douglas.

The company has been fine-tuning those tests since they first rolled off the assembly line some 10 years ago.

Then, late last year, Orasure unveiled another game changer.

It was a major victory for a company that got its start just 13 years ago.

Orasure grew out of the Ben Franklin Technology incubator program on Lehigh University's campus.

"It was actually a merger between a private company here in Bethlehem called STC Technologies. STC Technologies merged with a public company called Epitope," said Douglas.

Orasure set up shop at its current location on East First Street in 2003.

"We actually have a mini campus here with another building just across the street.

And we have another manufacturing facility on the north side of town," said Michels.

Decades ago a different innovator was doing business in this part of town.

"Our facility is built on previous Bethlehem Steel property," said Michels.

While the Steel's blast furnaces are now nothing more than silent relics of a bygone era. The Orasure employees who work in their shadow are looking forward to a dynamic future.

"Our mission is to develop and distribute products that make a significant impact on human health," said Michels.

The prognosis is good that Orasure will continue to accomplish that mission right here in Bethlehem.