The Kochi-based TCM Healthcare, a fully-owned subsidiary of TCM Ltd, which used to be a chemicals manufacturer till recently and was originally founded by Nobel-laureate physicist CV Raman way back in 1943, will start manufacturing Covid-19 test kits developed by IIT-Delhi.

TCM is among the seven companies chosen by IIT-Delhi nationwide to manufacture Covid test kits. Joseph Varghese, Managing Director, TCM Ltd, said the company has identified four units across the country for the production to help distribute the much-needed test kits easily.

The first unit to start production will be the one in Kinfra Biotech Park, which is expected to roll out the first commercial batch by mid-August. In phases, TCM will make 500 units per day which is good for 50,000 tests, as one kit is for 100 tests, he said.

He added that the IIT-Delhi developed RT-PCR assay will be priced at ₹399 and even after adding the RNA isolation and laboratory charges, the cost per test will be considerably cheaper compared to currently available kits in the market, which is around ₹4,500 per test now.

“The IIT-D developed kits are RT PCR ones and they do not depend on imported fluorescent profiles, resulting in the cost difference,” he said.

The company is planning to market the product nationwide through tying up with a couple of leading pharmaceutical companies. Talks with 3-4 pharma companies are already on, he said.

The licensing by IIT-Delhi was started when the testing kit developed by it was approved by ICMR and patented.