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Indian CRO Licenses Columbia's PCR-Based Pathogen Detection Platform

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Columbia University said yesterday that it has licensed a pathogen-detection technology called MassTag PCR to Indian contract research and testing organization Vimta Labs.

Vimta will use the technology to develop clinical diagnostic products for patients in India, the university's technology transfer arm, Columbia Science and Technology Ventures, said in a statement.

MassTags are small chemical compounds of different molecular weights that are added to nucleotide primer sequences by an ultraviolet photocleaver linker, the STV said.

Panels of MassTag-labeled primers designed to bind to genes of various pathogens are then used in a PCR reaction to amplify sequences of infectious agents from environmental or clinical samples. Following UV cleavage and mass spectrometry, the identity of the agent is revealed by the presence of its cognate tags.

STV said that the method can quickly and inexpensively detect up to 30 pathogens from individual microbial and viral gene sequences.

Vimta, located in Hyderabad, India, will incorporate the technology into clinical diagnostic panels to test patients for the agents responsible for encephalitis, respiratory diseases, viral hemorrhagic fever, ticks, and bacterial inflammation, among other maladies, STV said.

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