Delhi firm diversifies from skin creams to marking proteins

Delhi firm diversifies from skin creams to marking proteins

Hyderabad: New Delhi-based pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare products player Ozone Group, which owns skincare brand ‘Nomarks’, announced the launch of what it claims is the country’s first indigenously developed protein sequencer, an instrument used in determining the sequence of amino acids in a protein.

Claiming it to be a breakthrough technology, Ozone chairman and managing director S.C. Sehgal said the study of protein structure and function through this instrument could speed up drug development since protein sequencing helps accurately diagnose reasons for the occurrence of diseases and disorders.

Each cell in the human body is made up of proteins, which are chains made up of amino acids in genetically-defined sequences.

The human body turns prone to diseases owing to the malfunctioning of proteins or when they break down or stop carrying out the actions they are supposed to, said Bakshy A. Chibber, a scientist instrumental in developing the new protein sequencer. He is also working as research associate professor at the department of chemistry and biotechnology in the University of Notre Dame, US.

A protein sequencer works by tagging and removing one amino acid at a time, which is analysed and identified. This is repetitively done forthe whole protein till the whole sequence is established and the functioning of the protein molecule can be mapped.

Unravelling the structure of proteins is key to understanding cellular processes. Understanding such processes in turn allows pharmaceutical scientists develop drugs that can be used to target specific metabolic processes at the cellular level to be able to effectively address disorders and diseases.

The new protein sequencer developed by Ozone works more efficiently than theimported ones currently used in India, according to Chibber.

The players in the global protein sequencer market include the US-based American Biotech Industries with a dominant market share of over 90% and Hewlett-Packard Co. with a market share of over 6%, Chibber added.

The protein sequencer developed by Ozone, currently under study for its prototype, would be presented at the Analytica Anacon India 2007, a three-day international exhibition for analytical instrumentation, life sciences, laboratory technology and services, beginning 31 October at Hyderabad.

The global market for protein sequencers is estimated at around $20 billion (approximately Rs79,000 crore).

In India, sales of such sequencers stand at around Rs70 crore. Ozone’s Sehgal said the company’s instrument would be made available in the domestic market before March.

Ozone, which runs Ozone Ayurveda and Ozone Pharmaceuticals, is aiming at revenues of Rs200 crore this fiscal year.