Hyderabad: Strand Life Sciences, a clinical diagnostic and genomic profiling company, is strengthening partnerships globally and in India with instrument/device, diagnostics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the commercial research and development space. The company is looking at bigger opportunities in fundamental biotechnology (immunotherapy) in the US and biosimilar space in India.
A biosimilar is a biologic product that is approved based on demonstrating that it is similar to a reference biologic product and has no clinical difference from the reference product.
Strand’s bioinformatics tools have been used widely in oncology research and its diagnostic tests help in determining the inherited risk for cancer in individuals, which are widely used in India. The company offers standard-of-care tests in the country covering a vast range of specialties, including oncology, genetics, fertility, women’s health, infectious diseases and general wellness. It works with physicians and hospitals to enable faster clinical decision support for accurate clinical and molecular diagnosis, prognosis and therapy recommendations. The company is working on accelerating the use of data to come of out meaningful diagnostic reports.
Strand aims to grow 50 per cent in terms of revenues both in India and overseas. It raised Rs 80 crore in February this year. The company is profitable now. The company primarily provides genomics research to overseas companies while the diagnostics activity is predominantly India-centric.
Ramesh Hariharan, co-founder and CEO, Strand Life Sciences told Telangana Today, “We had been involved in genomic diagnostics research and automating data analysis besides diagnostic reporting in the US. We have signed up with many diagnostics companies there. In India, on the diagnostics front, we have grown as a differentiated genomics company. We are adding new tests to widen the basket of offerings going beyond super-specialties so that there is more range of tests. We are also strengthening our tests in the oncology space. The company will enter into gynaecology and differentiated wellness category in the coming months.”
Strand has been focusing on research and development primarily in the area of liquid biopsy and the culmination of this will be early detection of cancer. First clinical study has been completed based on this. Second clinical study is in progress that will use saliva of oral cancer patients to find out the tumor, which will complete by mid-2019. The company is redesigning the panels to reduce the cost of detecting genetic diseases. Research is also in progress in the area of thyroid cancer to identify certain nodules are malignant or not.
The company has 25 labs across India. Of these, three are reference labs with two in Bengaluru and one in Delhi which carry out complex tests. Delhi will strengthen with the northern space. In the next one year, the company will explore opportunities to set up a lab in Hyderabad though it has multiple partnerships with large hospitals such as American Oncology Institute and Kamineni Hospitals in the city. The company will continue to deploy the hub and spoke model pan-India.
“We also offer research and development services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the areas of clinical trial management, and biomarker discovery and validation. Indian generic companies are running various clinical research activity and we are part of several clinical trials as well as translational studies. We are working with global companies that want to carry out clinical studies in India. The activity had been primarily in genomics and immunology space. We are a CAP (College of American Pathologists) and NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited laboratory,” Hariharan added.
The company has ties with companies such as Agilent Technologies in both life sciences and food testing.