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Bangalore based medical devices maker Bigtec Labs, a subsidiary of BigTec Pvt. Ltd, has developed a handheld device that can diagnose a pathogen (a disease causing agent) in 10-12 minutes and at a much lesser cost. The product is still in the clinical testing stage. Bigtec plans to launch it once the clinical testing is done and the required approvals are received.

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The device works on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for carrying out the diagnostic tests for Hepatitis, Chikangunya and Dengue. “The device is portable and has the capability to be present where ever it is required, hence it gives an opportunity for more connected care,” says Chandrasekhar B Nair, Director, Bigtec Labs. He further added “while right now PCR costs around $250 for a test, we expect our test to cost $2.”

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It is also looking at raising $20 million in venture capital. The firm, which has not raised any external funding till now, is open to all models of funding including private equity and strategic

partnership. It has already initiated discussions with investors for raising the funds.

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According to Nair, “we would like to build on or leverage the distribution capability that has already been established by recognised players (for marketing the device.” Bigtec was established in 2000.

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Besides being low on test cost, the device also produces quick results. The company claims that while a regular PCR tests take about 4-6 hours for producing the test results, its handheld device would produce results in only 10-12 minutes.

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The device also has an in-built bluetooth connectivity, which enables it to be connected all the time to a mobile phone of a doctor in a distant location, sending him all details of the test process and

results. Bigtec plans to launch the device at a price of $500 (Rs 20,000).

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Currently Bigtec derives its revenues from its other businesses such as its SAP business, which has a team of over 200 people and the business that manufactures IT tools for life sciences research.

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Bigtec Labs is driven by MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) and its research is focused on developing cost effective healthcare products. The lab is located at Society for Innovation and Development Centre, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Its lab-on-chip technology is targeted at developing systems capable of sample preparation, mixing, complex bio-chemical reactions, sample screening and detection on a single chip platform.

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The medical devices space have received interest from VC's in the past. IDG Ventures India and Erasmic Venture Fund jointly invested $3.5 million in Perfint, a Chennai-based medical electronics company.

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