Companies

Genomics, the new beckoning for Calsoft founder

Swetha Kannan Chennai | Updated on November 15, 2017

Mr Sam Santhosh, founder of California Software.

SciGenom, Sam Santosh's next venture, specialises in DNA sequencing





The founder of California Software, Mr Sam Santosh, has quit the company and is ready for a stint in genomics R&D. He resigned as CEO and Managing Director of California Software on February 13.

Last year, Mr Santosh, along with a few NRI friends, invested $3 million to incubate a company called SciGenom, which specialises in DNA sequencing to predict and treat diseases.

Mr Santosh is the CEO and promoter of SciGenom. He has a controlling stake in the company.

Lab in Kochi

SciGenom has a 10,000 sq.ft lab in a special economic zone in Kochi, Mr Santosh's hometown. For the last one year, the lab has been working with hospitals in Kochi, Bangalore and Chennai validating various tests on the Indian population across oncology, prenatal and cardio diseases.

Saliva, blood and tumour samples are tested to get their DNA code, which is then used to predict diseases and one's predisposition to diseases. The data also helps doctors prescribe the appropriate drugs to patients.

The genome company employs 40 people, including 25 scientists — some of them have returned home from the US. The company has commercialised 30 tests (priced between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000) and is ready for a national roll-out in a few months.

The tests will be promoted under the brand MedGenome. There are plans to set up labs in major cities, besides tying up with diagnostic chains to set up collection centres across the country.

‘Next revolution'

On why he chose genomics to put his money in, Mr Santosh says: “Twenty years ago, I invested in software and IT. After IT, the next revolution is going to be in genomics. There have been big breakthroughs in sequencing technologies.”

For the past 20 years, Mr Santosh was the Managing Director & CEO of Chennai-based California Software Company, which he founded in 1992. He scaled up Calsoft to become a global IT player with over 1,200 employees and offices in eight countries. The company went public in India in 1996.

Calsoft later became a subsidiary of Chemoil, which was acquired by Glencore, Switzerland. Calsoft subsequently sold most of its units; today it has a small presence in India with 250 people in Chennai and Bangalore.

Mr Santosh moved out as promoter of Calsoft in 2010. He holds an engineering degree and an MBA from IIM Kolkata. He lives in Pleasanton, California.

>swethak@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 15, 2012

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