Updated on 13 April 2012
Mr Mallikarjun Sundaram, CEO, Mitra Biotech, receives the award from Dr Nazlee Kamal, CEO, BiotechCorp, Malaysia, (R) and Mr Abraham Matthew, Group Editor, BioSpectrum
Using its proprietary platform technology Oncoprint, India-based Mitra Biotech is developing personalized treatment options for cancer, by studying the key drivers of cancer progression and metastasis.
The company won the BioSpectrum Asia Pacific Bioscience Industry Emerging Company of the Year Award for 2012.
Oncoprint was initially developed at Harvard University, where one of its founders, Dr Pradip Majumder, studied various models for cancer in order to understand cancer biology. During the course of this study, he worked on developing an explant technology which effectively mimicked the micro-environment observed in the cancerous cells. The explant technology incorporates the necessary signaling pathways along with other factors such as ligands and paracrine factors that are derived from the patient.
On realizing the potential of this technology, Dr Majumder and his colleagues at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Dr Mallik Sundaram and Dr Shiladitya Sengupta co-founded Mitra Biotech and decided to base its operations in India in order to make the technology truly affordable. Mitra Biotech has since then received funds from three groups of investors, namely Accel Partners, a global venture capital fund; India Innovation Fund and Kitven. The representatives from each of these agencies are part of the board at Mitra Biotech, along with the founders.
On the potential of Oncoprint technology, Dr Mallik Sundaram, CEO, Mitra Biotech says, "Oncoprint has high relevance for both diagnostics as well as translational biology application. Oncoprint is a platform technology and is not database-driven like a biomarker. Hence it is applicable for a wide range of drugs (both chemotherapeutics as well as biologics) in a wide range of cancers. By partnering with a large hospital group such as HCG, we continue to collect a large amount of clinical as well as pre-clinical data and this helps improve the clinical relevance of Oncoprint. Oncoprint's relevance in translational biology can be gauged from the low success percentage (less than 10 percent) of a candidate drug reaching the market. Fundamental reason for this is the mismatch between the drug and the patient. Oncoprint helps take lot of the guess work from the clinical trial design and hence is expected to play a crucial role in cancer drug development in the near future."