Tata ready with tech to reverse antibiotic resistance
New Delhi: To fund cutting-edge technology in healthcare, Tata Industries Ltd collaborated with Tel Aviv University Ltd (Ramot) and after four years of their partnership, Tata firm is now ready with a technology that can potentially reverse antibiotic resistance.
In its $25 million Momentum fund, Tata Industries agreed to invest in Ramot, a university’s technology transfer company in 2013 to help commercialize breakthrough technologies developed in laboratories.
In a telephone interview, K.R.S. Jamwal, executive director of Tata Industries told LiveMint, “Out of 15 odd technologies that Ramot was working on, four are already at the commercialization stage. Of the four, the one to reverse antibiotic resistance and can be a game changer for a country like India. This is such an interesting and powerful technology and given how serious antibiotic resistance is as a challenge in India specifically, India definitely will be one of the key markets.”
“We will have a solution to antibiotic resistance which makes us very excited and it pleases us a lot that somewhere our funding is going into ensuring technologies like this which may have earlier been stuck on the shelf as a fantastic work done by a scientist, have now advanced to a stage where there is a very high likelihood that it will get commercialized,” he added.
He also added “I think whoever, is the commercialization partner, which will probably be one of the large pharma companies, will be looking at countries like India as a key market for this technology. I think there is a huge applicability for India. And in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we are also one of the highest prevalence countries. So it is critical for India.”
Tel Aviv University has developed a novel way to restore bacteria sensitivity and reverse their antibiotic resistance and also reduce their virulence reports LiveMint.
Professor Adi Elkeles, vice-president, business development, life sciences, Ramot at Tel Aviv University, explained about the technology that a “Trojan horse strategy is used where they take the natural enemies of bacteria and use them to inject the DNA into bacteria. The DNA harbors an attack mechanism that can kill the bacteria, but on the same hand, offers them a lifesaving wheel. And if they take that lifesaving wheel, then they are saved by the attack. But at the same time, they get DNA that contains a very elegant DNA editing technology called CRISPR. And CRISPR sequences just cut away the antibiotic resistant genes”.
Speaking about the other technologies that are currently under development under the Momentum fund Dr. Miriam Mangelus, vice-president, business development, healthcare, Ramot at Tel Aviv University, said, “There is a design to pick, select good quality sperms for invitro-fertilization. We are working on developing delivery systems for nucleic acid-based such as DNA or plasma DNA or RNA based technologies. This technology has just started a few months ago. We basically are now in a stage where we are scouting for an accelerator, we can scale up our programme. I would say in the next two years, we can start clinical trials in humans.”