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Azooka Aims At Replacing Biohazardous Fluorescent Stains From Research Labs


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Azooka Life Sciences is a Speciality Fluorescent dye company, a unique start-up with a new class of Safe Nucleic Acid Stains and Speciality Fluorescent Stains for Genomics Research and Molecular Diagnostics.

Azooka Life Sciences offers scientists working on the forefront of research with safe, sensitive, and fast dyes spanning across In Vitro tests, In Situ, and In vivo imaging. Azooka Life Sciences’ vision is to be a global leader in fluorescent stains.

tinto rang™ is the only #FoodGradeStain in the world #NucleicAcidStain to be reported from India. tinto rang™ is CE certified and has Biodiversity clearance.

Azooka Life Sciences products are safe alternatives to ThermoFisher Scientific products including tinto rang DNA stain series and tinto rang RNA stain series which are replacements for EtBr, SYBR Safe & SYBR Gold and SYBR Green respectively.

The market for stains alone is close to $1 billion (Rs 6,700 crore) in India. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the organic chemical market is estimated to be $6 billion in size, as per their study titled “Chemicals”. However, it was not the market that made Dr Fathima Benazir and Alex D Paul set up the business. They were driven by a passion to learn and find solutions to a problem.

Backed by Society for Innovation and Development, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Azooka Life Sciences will strategically expand and file patents in countries showing market traction.

Nucleic acid stains play a vital role in molecular biology studies such as DNA analysis, genomics, DNA labelling, visualization and detection that have applications in fields such as academics and Genomics Research, DNA Forensics, Molecular Assisted Crop Breeding, Food and Environmental Safety Testing and in Molecular Diagnostics.

tinto rang™ user base can span across human, animal and crop health studies and disease diagnosis of all types of diseases from Infectious diseases like HIV, HBV, and HCV to viral diseases like Zika.

While there are two main players in the market – Thermofisher Scientific & Sigma Aldrich, Thermofisher Scientific is the undisputed leader in Nucleic Acid stains and Fluorescent dyes.

Almost all nucleic acid stains are toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic and hazardous, posing a serious threat to the health of the researchers as well as to the environment.

The extensive use of nucleic acid stains in various areas of life sciences makes exposure to these biohazards inevitable.

The faces behind the startups are Dr. J Fathima Benazir and Alex D Paul who serves as the CEO and President of the company respectively. Dr. C.V. Nataraj, Prof H.S.Savithri and M.R.N Murthy serves as the advisory board for research and day to day operations of the startup.

Dr. J Fathima Benazir is a Postdoctoral Researcher from IISc. tinto rang™ was conceived out of her doctoral and postdoctoral research. She received her PhD from the Centre for excellence in Environmental sciences, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli.

Dr. Fathima was awarded the gold medal during her post-graduation. She is passionate about scientific research and teaching. While working at the GRD College of Science, the Shiksha Ratan Puraskar, 2012 was conferred on her.

Alex handles product management and marketing of tinto rang™ and the fluorescent dye series. He was the Director of Product Management and Marketing at zoho. He is passionate about Product Management and Marketing.

He comes with over 12 years of product development experience and Subject Matter Expertise at IT Information Library / IT Service Management.

Alex has extensive experience working with global Companies in 38 countries and managed partners and resellers worldwide. He has been a speaker at ITSM trade-shows and events worldwide.

Dr. C. V. Natraj, Ph.D. has been a Senior Vice President of Corporate Research in the Strategy and Technology division at Unilever since September 2000. Dr. Natraj has more than 30 years of experience in research.

In 1993, he was appointed the Head of Biosciences at the Unilever Research Laboratory at Colworth in the United Kingdom, before returning to India in 1995 to set up the Unilever Research Laboratory in Bangalore. In 1997, Dr. Natraj joined the Board of Hindustan Lever as a Research Director. Dr. Natraj was an Executive of Hindustan Unilever Limited.

He joined Hindustan Lever Limited as the Head of the Biochemistry section at their Research Centre in Bombay. He has been Independent & Non-Executive Director of Rallis India Limited since July 22, 2016. Dr. Natraj serves as a Member of the Advisory Board at Unilever Technology Ventures.

He has a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Dr. Natraj completed postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

H. S. Savithri is currently a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, IISc, Bangalore. She is a member in various Government and Non-government Scientific bodies.

She specializes in studies on Structure and function of viral proteins and PLP-dependent enzymes. Prof. Savithri was elected Fellow of the Indian 5 Science National Academy, Indian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. She is an integral member of the Azooka team, and her advice has been instrumental in Azooka’s Research activities.

M. R. N. Murthy is currently professor emeritus of molecular biophysics at the Indian Institute of Science, IISc, Bangalore.

His chief contributions are in the area of X-Ray crystallography. He was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award for outstanding contribution to physical sciences, which is the highest honour for a scientist in India, in the year 1992.

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