Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Mar 26, 2002
Industry & Economy
`India becoming hub for drug contract research'
KOLKATA, March 25
THE country is fast emerging not only as the destination, as the prime source as well as the market for new generation pharmaceuticals, biotechnology products and diagnostics, but also as an international hub for contract research and manufacturing.
In this context, Chembiotech Research International, a Chatterjee Group company, Procter Gamble Pharmaceuticals and the Institute of Molecular Medicine have jointly organised a two-day international symposium in drug discovery and development, which began here today.
According to Dr Gopakumar Nair, Secretary-General of the Centre for Intellectural Property Management, abundance of scientific talent, skilled labour, harmonised standards of GMP, GLP and GCP, have helped the country in offering a good deal for contract research, contract manufacturing and related services to the world at large in the pharmaceutical field.
"The country is also evolving itself strongly in intellectual property right regime with its credible and well established judicial system'', Dr Nair said.
The human genome mapping has triggered explosive growth in drug targets. However, the increasingly higher spending on R&D has been found to be insufficient. Thus the global drug majors are gradually moving towards collaborative efforts for developing investigative new drugs (IND).
They are turning to specialised Indian biotechnology companies, which offer a broad range of R&D services to life science companies under complete confidentiality agreement. Aided by the IT backbone, these companies are providing speedy and low-cost R&D solutions.
According to Mr Roopen Roy of PricewaterhouseCoopers, today the country stands on the threshold of a revolution powered by its knowlege capital -- biotechnology and IT. "Our existing IT competence can provide the mission critical human resource for organisations to leverage in a mutually beneficial way'', he added.
In the search of finding out alternative sources of safer drugs in ethno-medicine and tropical bio-diversity, scientists have discovered large number medicinal plants in the northeastern States and more than 100 new molecules of different structures have been isolated/screened against cancer and AIDS, Dr N.C. Barua of Regional Research Laboratory in Jorhat (Assam) pointed out. Incidentally, the seven north-eastern States have been identified as biodiversity "hot-spot''.
About 20 scientists and experts, including Dr Alexander Kilanov, professor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dr Erick M Carreira of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, are to deliberate at the symposium.
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