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Tata’s fledgling company looks to put futuristic diagnostic products in the market

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on September 21, 2020 Published on September 21, 2020

Aims to roll-out the CRISPER test, at the earliest

It’s been barely two months since Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd., was incorporated and the company aims to develop diagnostic products built on futuristic technology.

The first step in that direction came when the Tata CRISPER test, powered by CSIR-IGIB’s FELUDA technology, received the Indian drug regulator’s approval for commercialisation. The test claims to achieve “comparable” benchmarks as the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT_PCR) test, the industry gold standard, but in less time and possibly at a lower cost as well.

CRISPER is a gene editing tool, but in this case it is being put to diagnostic use.

Outlining the journey on taking the “transformational” technology from the lab to now getting it ready for the market, TMDL’s Chief Executive Girish Krishnamurthy says, the core innovation was put through many tests to ensure that a high performance product that was consistent and scalable, among other things.

 

The test involves a paper strip coded with the technology that identifies if the genetic material from the SARS-COV2 virus is present in the patient sample.

On when the test would be available, Krishnamurthy told BusinessLine, they were working in an “aggressive” timeline to have it out at the earliest. On its pricing, he said, it would have the “right pricing” after taking into account various factors, including sourcing of the input material etc.

 

Presently, the test is about 70 per cent indigenous, he said, adding that efforts were underway to get all the input materials locally. The trouble was not with getting the material, but the time to develop it, given the large requirements, he clarified. The test would be produced at their Chennai manufacturing facility that was repurposed for this, he said, without giving further details.

Diagnostic industry representatives observe that the RT-PCR tests are procured by the Government at ₹350 or less, while the lab tests hover at between ₹1,000 to ₹2000-odd. But, even that is under pressure from the low-cost antigen tests, despite their high false positives.

While the CRISPER test has generated curiosity and anticipation, industry voices reserved comment, preferring to wait for the product to prove itself in the marketplace.

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Published on September 21, 2020
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