Labs has developed
a handheld diagnostic platform for rapid pathogen detection of any
disease and allows DNA amplification. Currently, the company is
validating the product specifically for hepatitis B, C and HIN1 where
with a single drop of blood the diagnosis can be made within minutes
The Society for Innovation and Development (SID) Entrepreneurship Center at
the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has housed several
companies engaged in biotech research. While many have moved out of the
campus and setting up their own dedicated facilities, others continue
to reside there as they believe the air in IISc is driving innovation
in their labs.
Bigtec, a biomedical diagnostic research and development company in SID
develops simplified diagnostic kits utilizing the disciplines
of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), optics, molecular
biology, bioinformatics and information technology. It has associated
itself with scientists at IISc and other such renowned research
institutions in the areas of infectious diseases and nanotechnology.
Headquartered in Bangalore, Bigtec Labs was founded in 2000.
Its core competencies range from the integration of chemistry,
nanobiotechnology and MEMS to genetics and science/ engineering.
The research-based organization is constantly exploring new frontiers
while also tackling the current real world issues and making inroads
into the future.
This is evident from the fact that the company is currently at an advanced
stage in the realization of a MEMS-based nucleic acid amplification
platform that can be extended to diagnose several diseases including
the H1N1. Such a system can be tailored to accept whole blood samples
or samples with minimal processing, extending the diagnosis capability
to remote locations with minimal facilities.
Using this platform, results are available in a few minutes, making it an
ideal platform for doctor's office disease monitoring, thus
enabling a paradigm shift in modern healthcare and diagnostics. The
project is supported by the New Millennium India Technology Leadership
Initiative (NIMITLI) from Council of Scientific and Industrial
Research (CSIR), Government of India. This
tripartite research program commenced in January 2006 with Bigtec Labs,
supported by Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of
Integrative Medicine, Jammu. A monitoring and advisory committee had
the research scrutinized at every stage of progress.
Bigtec Labs' handheld point-of-care diagnostic equipment is designed
to bring the power of bench top laboratory equipment to the clinician
by providing rapid, low-cost near-care diagnostics. “Our
battery operated, real-time micro-PCR is poised to revolutionize
medical analysis and treatment in-field, and in the laboratory, by
reducing the analysis time and driving down the cost of medical
diagnostics by orders of magnitude,” claims Chandrasekhar
Nair, director of Bigtec Labs. Using the state-of-the-art MEMS
technology, the device is slated to be at the cutting-edge of medical
diagnostics for years to come. “This is in keeping with our
vision of providing accurate, affordable diagnostics at point
of care,” he adds.
“The platform is designed for the diagnosis of infectious diseases
irrespective of whether the causative organisms are bacteria, virus,
fungi or parasites. “Independent, third party validations of
our device for hepatitis B detection has been completed successfully by
an organization certified as a Center for Excellence in Liver Diseases
by the Government of India. Multi-centric clinical trials at
internationally-renowned centers will commence shortly,”
shares GM Kini, co-founder and MD, Bigtec Labs.
India has around 80 million hepatitis-B positive people and it is estimated
that around 300 million tests are conducted annually. “Our
platform is affordable for both healthcare providers and patients. A
real-time PCR platform costs lakhs and a confirmatory hepatitis test on
PCR costs in thousands. The Bigtec platform will be made available for
Rs 1 lakh and a test would work out to only in
hundreds,” shares Nair.
Capitalizing on the multiple applications of BioMEMS, the company is also
working towards replicating the chip for diagnosis of chikungunya,
dengue, malaria, HIV and HPV. The novel Micro Thermal Cycler
Diagnostic Platform (MTCDP) is also being recommended to extend its use
for H1N1 detection for the surveillance/ diagnosis of swine flu.
Discussions on H1N1 detections at transit points using Bigtec
Labs' platform have been initiated with a nodal government
The validation will be completed next month after which the company will
release the first prototype for custom manufacture. The company intends
to license the technology for production and discussions are on with
players in India and abroad. Currently, Bigtec Labs is operationalizing
a go-to-market strategy. However, it will be looking for an ideal
Commenting on the business model, Nair says, “Bigtec Labs'
business model is to translate laboratory technologies to completely
validated market-ready technologies and go-to-market with these
technologies through appropriate collaborations, while addressing
certain markets ourselves.”
The nine-year-old Bigtec Labs is still in a pre-revenue mode. The company
also has SAP consulting and software development arm named Deciphar.
The company's revenue streams are from SAP business services,
software engineering training and consulting, and phase I clinical
trial software sales. However, its value-added assignments are in the
areas of biotherapeutics and handheld point of care diagnostics. The
company uses internal source of seed
funding earned from its IT consulting and services arms for incubation
activities in the areas of bioengineering.
Jahanara Parveen in Bangalore