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Is drug discovery in India dead?

Is drug discovery in India dead?
Highlights

The drug discovery in India is almost dead as no much development seen in the recent past, opine experts at the 15th edition of BioAsia here on Friday. Participating in a panel discussion on life science companies collaboration with R&D, Dr Anil Koul, Director, CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology said: “Drug discovery in India is dead as not many partnerships between R&D and companies are happe

Hyderabad: The drug discovery in India is almost dead as no much development seen in the recent past, opine experts at the 15th edition of BioAsia here on Friday. Participating in a panel discussion on life science companies collaboration with R&D, Dr Anil Koul, Director, CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology said: “Drug discovery in India is dead as not many partnerships between R&D and companies are happening.

Indian government and private sector have to come together as many diseases are neglected. Though India is the hub of genetic manufacturing, there is also presence of a lot of risk in developing drugs. We are working in a very challenging eco system as innovation does take time and the most important thing is that there is trust deficit at both the ends. But, ending on a hopeful note, he stated that he is looking at global investment in the R&D sector.”

On the contrary, Dr Anand Gautam, Senior Director at Pfizer, disagreed with Koul’s statement that India is deficit in discovery of new drugs. Gautam said: “The main thing is to pick up science and highlights in India and help the country to translate it into mechanism. He further added that, companies like Pfizer are seeing how early academics can be taken into partnership with industry. Though the fact remains that, we have to be realistic as it is difficult to find new drugs.”

The third key speaker for the event, Prof Michael N Hall, Biozentrum, Switzerland, explained in detail the TOR (Target Of Rapamycin) – TOR signaling, journey of Rapamycine being used in suppressive drugs, antifungal drugs and now in cancer drugs to control cell growth.

The Panel discussion concluded with the opinion that India has lot of opportunities, while at the same time a lot of investment is needed for it. The challenge remains to reduce R&D cost so as to make drugs accessible to everyone.

Earlier in a keynote address, Dr Shreeram Aradhye, CMO, Novartis Pharma, USA, said: “Technology can be used to modify human behavior and ensure delivery of drugs in an intelligent way, which can be modified on individual inputs.” Life science employees more than nineteen thousand people across the world. However, India has less penetration of biologics which is not dependant on affordability, said another key speaker Dr Udit Batra, CEO Life Science, Merck, Germany.

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