Thermo Fisher sets up facility to make customised RT-PCR kits in India

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on February 16, 2021

Bengaluru plant has the capacity to make 10 million tests per month

American laboratory equipment-maker Thermo Fisher Scientific has set up a manufacturing facility in Bengaluru to produce customised Covid-19 testing kits suited to Indian conditions.

The company’s CoviPath RT-PCR Kits are “platform-agnostic”, said Amit Chopra, Managing Director, India and South Asia, Thermo Fisher, indicating that they can be run on platforms not made by the company — a feature that allows the kits to be taken to smaller towns and locations that may not have large testing centres and infrastructure. The plant has the capacity to make 10 million tests per month.

The company’s decision to make the kits in India comes at a time when prices on these tests are seeing a downward trend, as States opt for the more convenient rapid antigen tests, although RT-PCR is the gold standard.

Without getting into pricing details, he said, making and selling locally would make the kits competitive. The company’s kits were earlier imported from the US.

The company is not currently looking to export these kits to other countries with similar conditions, Chopra told BusinessLine. And given the different variants of the virus that are in circulation, he said the company hasdiagnostic tools in its portfolio to identify them. On Thermo Fisher’s efforts with AstraZeneca on the Covid-19 vaccine, he said, globally, the company has also worked with 250 vaccine candidates or projects, including large Indian ones.

The CoviPath RT-PCR Kit is designed to detect viral targets with low mutations, and offers more than 99.5 percent sensitivity and 99.5 specificity, the company said, and is packaged in a convenient pack of 200 reactions.

In the last 10 years, the company has invested about $ 125 million in India. Thermo Fisher Scientific has annual revenues exceeding $30 billion and an R&D spend of about $1 billion.

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Published on February 16, 2021
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