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2015-03-16

Start-up Soothe Healthcare signs MoU with ICMR to offer affordable diagnostics

Soothe shares with ICMR the strong sense of purpose to serve middle and bottom of the pyramid customers in India.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Soothe Healthcare have announced the signing of a license agreement that grants Soothe Healthcare non-exclusive right to manufacture and market innovative range of rapid, portable, low-cost diagnostic kits developed by the Council with an aim to provide access to affordable diagnostics.

The MOU was signed in the presence of Dr Vishwa Mohan Katoch, Secretary, Department of Health Research & Director General, ICMR & Shri T.S. Jawahar, IAS Sr. Deputy Director General, ICMR was also present. Dr Katoch expressed satisfaction that Soothe Healthcare is partnering in this important national endeavour. Soothe shares with ICMR the strong sense of purpose to serve middle and bottom of the pyramid customers in India.

Sahil Dharia, MD & founder, Soothe Healthcare, said, “We have the unique opportunity to market these products in retail but to reach the vast population we require support from the Union Health & FW Ministry in the form of screening programs”. US educated Sahil Dharia, formerly Global Head of Operations at MNC Thomson Reuters, moved back to India to be a part of the India growth story & is inspired by the “Make In India” vision.”


The agreement covers the following technologies- low cost point of care device for the detection of Blood Glucose Levels – DIABETES, a device for visualizing the precancerous and cancerous lesions of uterine cervix & oral cavity, Dried Blood Spot (DBS) – collection kit for sub-clinical deficiency of Vitamin A, ELISA for Ferritin as marker for assessing bioavailability of Iron using Caco-2 cell, personal Cooling Garment system, recombinant Protein –based assay for diagnosis of Hepatitis E and Test Reagents for lung fluke useful for differential diagnosis from lung TB.

These technologies are innovative, scalable and yet affordable to bring down the cost of testing for the common man. All technologies have been developed by ICMR except 'Low cost point of care device for detection of blood glucose level’, which is developed by Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, Hyderabad through extramural research support.

“The device for blood glucose detection is reliable, user friendly, highly specific yet affordable. This is an important breakthrough for the 60 mn diabetic patients and 70 mn more at pre-diabetes stages in India alone. The global blood glucose monitoring devices market is expected to reach $12.2 billion in 2017 with 46% of the 387mn people estimated to be living with diabetes remaining undiagnosed. The number of with diabetes is expected to increase by another 205mn by 2035,” said the press statement.

The Magni-visualizer is a hand-held device to screen pre-cancerous and early cancerous lesions in the Cervix & Oral cavity, developed by Institute of Cytology & Preventive Oncology, Noida- an institute of ICMR. India reports the highest mortalities for Cervical Cancer in the world at 75,000 annually and estimated 150,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. Presently, both screening via Pap smear and vaccine to prevent HPV related infections are expensive. Patents for these technologies have already been filed by ICMR.

Soothe Healthcare and its collaboration partner the Indian Institute of Biotechnology Pvt. Ltd. (IIBT) will further upscale and develop these technologies to make them ready for commercialization via Validation, Maturing and independent field-testing as needed.

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