LabCorp (NYSE:LH) is partnering with molecular diagnostics firm XDx to develop a new diagnostic for lupus flares.

Burlington-based LabCorp will work with XDx to develop a biomarker and commercialize a test for the flares — extended periods of activity for the autoimmune disease. Lupus causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues, which leads to inflammation and organ damage.

There is no cure for lupus, but it is treated by a combination of drugs that reduce inflammation. The challenge doctors face is treating lupus flares in a way that the treatment does not cause the patient long-term damage. A new diagnostic to predict lupus flares could help doctors manage treatment. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that lupus affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States.

The diagnostic will be developed from XDx’s autoimmune diagnostics research. The Brisbane, California company develops tests for monitoring transplant rejection as well as diagnostics for autoimmune diseases. XDx has a proprietary database of lupus blood samples that will be used to develop a biomarker for the flare test. No financial terms of the partnership were disclosed.