Shares of OraSure Technologies ( OSUR) jumped Thursday after the company said it signed an agreement with Schering-Plough ( SGP) to develop a rapid hepatitis C test.

Under the agreement, Schering-Plough will reimburse OraSure for a portion of the development costs and will provide support in promoting the devices to doctors' offices in the U.S. The deal has an initial term of two years from the date the test is first sold commercially, OraSure says.

All sales of the diagnostic device will be made by OraSure, which will retain the rights to market and sell the test in the U.S. Tests sold to doctors' offices will be co-branded under OraSure's OraQuick name and Schering-Plough's Be In Charge free support program, which provides patient education on hepatitis C and its treatment.

OraSure's OraQuick technology is currently being used in the company's rapid oral HIV tests.

"As a long-term innovator and leader in the hepatitis therapy area, Schering-Plough is the ideal partner to help us introduce our rapid, point-of-care oral HCV test to the U.S. physicians' office market once our product receives FDA approval," said Douglas Michels, OraSure's CEO. "We believe a rapid oral fluid HCV test has significant commercial and medical value in that it will help identify more individuals who are infected, thus enabling them to receive appropriate treatment."

Orasure's shares were gaining 26 cents, or 3.2%, to $8.41 Thursday morning, while Schering-Plough's shares were off 2 cents to $23.51.

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