|Mr Hideji Tajima
President, PSS Bio, Japan
PSS Bio is one of the leading manufacturers of Automated Nucleic Acid
Extraction systems and supplies themon an Original Equipment
Manufacturer (OEM) basis to Qiagen, Rocheand Invitrogen. The company
recentlyhad a technical collaboration with Mumbai-based Biotron
Healthcare, for producing magnetic-based NucleicAcid Extraction kits.
In an interview with BioSpectrum, Mr HidejiTajima, president of PSS
Bio, Japan, talks about the collaboration and the ways in which it will
reduce the cost of extraction, and also speaks about the company’s
plans for India.
Q Can you please
throwlight on the technical collaboration with Biotron Healthcare for
the magneticbased-Nucleic Acid Extractionkits?
After successful technology transfer processes such as training, trial
run and validation run, the NucleicAcid Extraction reagent production
is started in March 2011. The facility will produce dedicated DNA/RNA
extraction reagents for the automated instrument of 12GCPlus and
all-round Nucleic Acid Extractionreagent for manual use. The production
capacity is expandable based on the market need. It would be carried
out in the clean rooms, installed at the Mumbai facility in India.
Also, to ensure high quality, molecular labs with state-of-the-art
equipment have been set up.
Q How will these NucleicAcid Extraction
systems reduce the costs of extraction?How different are these systems
from other such extraction systems?
The automated Nucleic Acid Extraction system can handle up to 12
samples within 40-90 minutes andcan function as a fully walk away
system after setting the samples and reagents. This would take
two-to-threehours if carried out in a conventional manual method.
The 12GCPlus can show highly reproducible Nucleic Acid
Extractionperformance that can contribute tost and ardization of the
Nucleic Acid Extraction procedure. One of theadvantages of the 12GCPlus
is that it uses magtration technology for separating, mixing and
collecting the magnetic beads for extraction. Compared to other
extraction procedures, the magtration system, which is a patented
technology by PSS, can provide nucleic acids of better quality that
have high purity (less contamination by other chemicals) and high
Q What market opportunities does India
have tooffer as far as these automated extraction kits are concerned?
Biotron can directly supply the reagents manufactured in Mumbai to
Indian customers and can directly access customers’ responses. It is
critical for Biotron to understand its customers’ need and incorporate
their request for not only further enhancement of quality but also for
considering new products in timely manner. But, at the same time, the
runningcost of extractions on any automated platform is higher than the
manual costs. The labs, especially in India, are thus unable to see the
value in going for automation. Through this new arrangement we aim to
bring down the costs of extraction on automated platforms,
considerably, and hence increase the automation platforms in India in
the life sciences segment and molecular diagnostics segment.
Q Which are the exporting destinations
for the kits produced at the new facility? Will the company venture
into similar technical collaborations in the APAC region?
The automated nucleic acid extraction method has just started in India
and in South East Asian countries. However, the per-test-price of
dedicated reagent for the instrument is an issue that is causing
hindrance in the proliferation of the automation in the APAC region,
similar to problemsin India. The reagents for Automated Extraction will
pave the way for the kind of automation that will supersede the time
consuming and labor intensive conventional nucleic acid extraction
Q What are some of the issues PSS Japan
faces in India?
PSS has developed and manufactured small-to-large scale instruments for
various needs of customers. We expect to hear a lot from our customers
in India, regarding what they would like to have in their automation
system. We could offer the instrument that will meet the Indian
Q What are the plans for PSS Japan in
India andhow will the company take its partnership with Biotron forward?
The prevalance of various infectiousdiseases including HIV, HBV, HCV,
along with cholera, malaria, denguefever, tuberculosis and tetanus is
not restricted only to India, but is a problem that exists in many
other Asian countries. To identify disease-causing germs rapidly and
precisely, the need of genetic diagnostic technology is indispensable.
However, as the genetic diagnostics require complicated skillful
technique, it has not successfully spread even in the advanced nations
such as the US, Europe and Japan.
PSS is hoping to start the evaluation of fully-automated genetic
diagnostics systems in India, a country where the importance of genetic
diagnosticsis deeply recognized. In that context, PSS and Biotron are
looking for partnerships with institutions like hospitals, blood banks
and reference laboratories in India.