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MilliporeSigma funds Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay for Covid-19 research

News Release

  • Two-year donation supports development of clinical tests for Covid-19 disease severity assessment
  • Research focuses on the development of simple immunoassays using Single Molecule Counting technology for early disease severity marker identification

Mumbai, India, Aug 26, 2021 – MilliporeSigma, a leading science and technology company, today announced a donation of INR 1.7crore (194,000€) over two years to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay to support the development of clinical tests for Covid-19 disease severity assessment. The funded project is an ongoing Covid-19 multi-omics research on the development of simple immunoassays based on Single Molecule Counting technology to identify low-levels of early disease severity markers.

“India has been hit by a huge second coronavirus wave with a record of over 32 million cases to-date, and daily active cases in tens of thousands,” said Sunil Punjabi, Managing Director of Life Science Business, MilliporeSigma India. “With this donation, MilliporeSigma is aiding IIT in the early identification of Covid-19 virus severity to facilitate appropriate healthcare management which will help to relieve the pressure that has been put on the healthcare system in the country.”

The research aims to dissect the host response signatures during Covid-19 disease progression, identify clinically relevant biomarkers, apply mass spectrometry-based approaches, and translate the findings to allow the prognosis of Covid-19 patients.

The partnership will focus on five areas, including:

  • Biomarker discovery of Covid-19 severity at an early phase of infection
  • Immunoassays for the detection of biomarkers using Single Molecule Counting technology
  • AI-driven short-listing of Covid-19 biomarkers for prognosis using immunoassay panel
  • Immunoassay panel development for detection of biomarkers using Single Molecule Counting Technology
  • Pathway enrichment driven computational studies on drug repurposing for Covid-19 therapies

”Further clinical validation remains a challenge since highly advanced mass-spectrometry instruments are cumbersome to operate in clinical settings,” said Professor Subhasis Chaudhuri, Director, IIT Bombay. “Validation using immunoassay platforms like single molecule counting (SMC) technology will be highly beneficial for rapid clinical translation. Our partnership with MilliporeSigma is a natural next step in this direction and we are grateful to them for supporting our mission.”

The research project is expected to commence Mass Spec based validation of Covid-19 biomarkers and the set-up of Single Molecule Counting technology and protocols optimization, which will be used as the foundation for future Covid-19 clinical tests and drug re-purposing studies as part of this donation project.

About IIT Bombay

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, the second IIT to be set up in 1958, is recognized worldwide as a leader in the field of engineering education and research. The Institute was granted the status of ‘Institution of Eminence’ by the Ministry of Education on July 9, 2018. IIT Bombay is reputed for the quality of its faculty and the outstanding caliber of students graduating from its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The Institute has 15 academic departments, 32 centres, two schools and four Interdisciplinary programmes. Over the last six decades, more than 62,500 engineers and scientists have graduated from the Institute. It is served by more than 692 faculty members considered not only amongst the best within the country, but are also highly recognized in the world for achievements in the field of education and research. The Institute is recognized as one of the top centres of academic excellence in the country. Over the years, there has been dynamic and rapid progress at IIT Bombay in both academic and research activities, with a parallel improvement in facilities and infrastructure to match with the best institutions in the world.

About the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has some 22,000 employees and 59 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. 

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of €16.2 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. Since its founding 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. For more information about Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit www.emdgroup.com.

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