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      India emerging drug R&D hub

      Posted AtSify.com

      India is gearing to become a large pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) destination, with multinational companies such as Merck and Eli Lilly moving projects to India and domestic companies such as GVK Biosciences and Jubilant Organosys investing in providing related services.Speaking to Business Line on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, D.S. Brar, Chairman, GVK Biosciences, said: "We are providing R&D services to 20 pharma and seven biotech companies. We have already set up pharma KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) centres in Chennai and Delhi. In future, we could enter into collaborations with other companies in drug discovery on a risk-reward sharing arrangement." The company has invested about Rs 60 crore in the business and will invest an equal amount in the coming months.

      Similarly, Jubilant Organosys plans to scale up its contract research business. "Currently, we are conducting only bio-equivalence or Phase I studies. But after the acquisition of US-based company, Target, and merging it with our own existing entity, we hope to enter into the front-end of the business," said Hari S. Bhartia, Co-Chairman and Managing Director, Jubilant. He said that currently companies conduct trials in the US, Europe and Asian markets. "We want them to include India as a site for clinical trials," he added.Meanwhile, multinational companies are excited about the prospects of moving some part of their R&D to India. Richard A. Smith, Strategy Consultant, Intercontinental Region, Eli Lilly, said, "We would like to tap the intellectual capital available in India and have done some clinical studies here. We are looking at different types of R&D opportunities and models and have initiated some discussions with companies." Some of the therapeutic segments that the company is looking at for R&D in India include oncology, diabetes, mental health diseases and so on.

      MSD Pharmaceuticals India (a subsidiary of US-based Merck & Co) too plans to launch clinical studies of an existing asthma drug for new indications. "Almost all the companies here have spoken to us and we are open to conducting research studies of both new molecules and new indications for existing molecules. MSD is also willing to forge partnerships with government-run research centres such as ICMR and CSIR," added, Leonard Tauro, Managing Director, MSD.

      November 29, 2005


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