Oligonucleotides and magnetic particles for PCR tests: new developments of Kalibr Technopark resident

December 9, 2021
Economy and entrepreneurship

The Kalibr technopark resident — GenTerra chemical and technological company has developed unique products for diagnostic and research laboratories. They are intended for PCR-testing and diagnosing oncological, hereditary and infectious diseases.

Among other things, oligonucleotides are produced here — short single strands of DNA that are generated on special chemical synthesis equipment.

"To study any region of the gene or a disease associated with it, it is first necessary to synthesize short single strands similar to it — oligonucleotides, and that is what our company is doing. Then the company's customers place the artificially generated strands in a test tube included in the diagnostic PCR kit. These kits are used for the biological samples analysis in clinical laboratories. The biological sample and the components of the kit go into a reaction in complex devices — amplifiers. This method, called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), is one of the newest and most accurate in genodiagnostics" said Olga Koreneva, Commercial Director of GenTerra.

Olga Koreneva

According to her, oligonucleotides are one of the main components that no PCR test can do without.

PCR tests are used in variety of fields. They help detect and study a wide range of infectious (for example, tuberculosis) and viral diseases, including COVID-19, as well as various types of oncological diseases for developing methods of their proper treatment and selection of effective medicines.

The second field of using this method is veterinary medicine and crop production. PCR studies can detect diseases, as well as monitor the purity of animal breeds or plant varieties.

"For example, molecular genetic certification of fish stocks is carried out on sturgeon farms. When withdrawing a batch of counterfeit caviar from sale, PCR analysis determines where the caviar belongs to— domestic sturgeon or wild (that is, poached)," Olga Koreneva explained.

The company produces various reagents for PCR and other areas of gen diagnostics, as well as magnetic particles (sorbents) for isolating DNA and RNA from biological samples. These particles are also included in the kits for detecting coronavirus infection. They are the company's patented products and have a trademark. GenTerra's products saw great demand in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We had a larger instrumentation stock with a sufficiently high performance, and we were very well prepared to provide reagents for PCR diagnostics commercially. But at some point the amount of produced reagents failed to meet the demand, and a decision was made to increase the productive capacity," Olga Koreneva recalls.

Today, the company supplies the needs of many state institutions, such as the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, the N.F. Gamalei National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, the Center for Strategic Planning and Management of Biomedical Risks to Health of the Federal Biomedical Agency of Russia, the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center.

GenTerra has been a resident of the Kalibr since 2017. Now, the company’s most intense field of development is the synthesis of oligonucleotides for pharmaceutical research in vitro and in vivo. "Our company provides synthesis of the most complex molecules that are used in the development and search for new medications," Olga Koreneva explained.

The method of using oligonucleotides as the basis of medicines is now well-proven across the world. The company is confident that this is a most promising field of development in our country.

To date, there are 46 technoparks in Moscow, six of them are being created as part of the implementation of the city investment priority projects. Over 2,090 companies operate on the sites, and the number of residents is growing.

"Since 2017, the Kalibr has been consistently ranked among the top ten Russian technoparks. In 2021, it was included in the 7th National Rating of Technoparks as a technopark with the highest level of operational efficiency. The site is constantly evolving. The funds received are used to build new areas and provide infrastructure, which allows attracting new innovative companies," said Alexey Fursin, Head of the Moscow Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development.
Source: mos.ru

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