• 5 October 2007
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Transasia Bio-Medicals offers a complete suite of transfusion products

Suresh Vazirani

Transasia Bio-Medicals signed an agreement with Grifols, Spain, to exclusively distribute products in transfusion medicine in the Indian Market. Transasia Bio-Medicals is a leading player in clinical diagnostic equipment and reagents and brings to its customers yet another suite of product offerings in the blood transfusion space.

Hanne Matthews, managing director, Grifols Asia Pacific PTE Ltd said, "The distribution partnership is a key element of our global growth strategy. We're working closely with partners to build strong customer relationships and broaden our presence in the rapidly expanding diagnostics market."

"Through our relationship with Grifols, Spain, we are now in a position to offer our customers a complete portfolio of products in the transfusion medicine space," said Suresh Vazirani, CMD, Transasia Bio-Medicals. "Working closely with Grifols will enable us to leverage their corporate strengths, while utilizing our own market, customer development and service capabilities across the region," he added.

The new line of products that Transasia would distribute would be WaDiana Compact, DG Spin, DG Therm in the instruments section; DG Gel cards and Grifols Red Blood Cells (RBCs) in the reagents section. DG Gel cards and Grifols Red Blood Cells which are based on gel test technology is now becoming a new serological standard for blood banks.


Xcyton launches "Xcyto-Screen" the diagnostic kit for eye infection and HPV

Dr BV Ravikumar

Xcyton Diagnostics, the Bangalore-based molecular diagnostics company, launched its Xcyto-Screen range of products in September. Dr G Padmanabhan, former director, IISC, Dr MK Bhan, secretary, DBT and Dr Ramasami, director-general, CSIR were present to grace the occasion. The launch program was attended by 140 invitees comprising of opthalmologists, neurologists, gynaecologists and scientists.

Xcytoscreen Keratoconjuctivitus, Uveitis, Retinitis and Endophthalmitis are specific and sensitive dignostic kits for the detection of 15 microrganisms responsible for infection to both eyes and brain have been developed for the first time in the country in public-private venture. These products are based on nucleic acid amplification technology and macro-chip. "Over 2 lakh people are suffering from eye infections in India every year and a million globally. The Xcyto-Screen kit has the advantage of being able to detect a series of the eye infecting microorganisms," said Dr Ravikumar, MD, Xcyton Diagnostics.

The company also launched Xcyto-Screen HPV kit, the DNA chip for genotyping Human Papilloma viruses responsible for cervical cancer and the diagnostic kit for meningitis and encephalitis. "Infection with human papilloma viruses (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women," remarked Dr Ravikumar. HPV DNA chip test is very sensitive and effective method for detection of Human Papilloma viruses (HPV) infection, he added.

Addressing the occasion Dr Padmanabhan remarked, "It is a tremendous job done by Xcyton and more such innovations are needed in the country." He also added saying that besides innovation and technology, the most important thing is the policy and the policy must support innovation and research.

Xcyton also took the opportunity to felicitate all the scientists and academicians who contributed to the development of the products. Dr Ravikumar also declared that Xcyton would market its Xcyto-Screen products.


Bharat Biotech launches BioHib

Bharat Biotech International launched BioHib, the first indigenously developed and manufactured Haemophilus Influenza type b (Hib) vaccine in India. It also launched its tetravalent combination vaccine, Comvac4-HB containing Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus and Hepatitis B in one vaccine. These two new vaccines BioHib and Comvac4-HB, enable the deployment of a combination pentavalent vaccine in a single injection.

According to the release, BioHib is a conjugate vaccine that has proven its safety and efficacy in multi-centric clinical trials. BioHib will be a safe and affordable vaccine that offers complete protection against Hib infections. It is a safe and efficacious vaccine developed with conjugation and manufacturing technologies developed at Bharat Biotech.

Dr Krishna M Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech said, "The launch of BioHib is a significant milestone for Bharat Biotech and more importantly for India, since all technologies were developed within India. BioHib has the ability to save the lives of millions of children worldwide at a very affordable price. The tetravalent and pentavalent vaccines give us the ability to protect children against multiple infectious diseases with a single injection. BioHib and Comvac4-HB are the latest offerings from Bharat Biotech in its commitment to develop safe and affordable vaccines for the developing world."

The scientific, manufacturing and product development teams at Bharat Biotech have completely developed all processes required to manufacture BioHib in-house at Bharat Biotech. It has made significant investments to the tune of several million of dollars over the past four years, into its R&D capabilities and its manufacturing facilities to enable the development and manufacture of BioHib.


Jubilant to supply pyridines to Syngenta

Jubilant Organosys has signed a multi-million dollar long-term agreement with Syngenta for the supply of pyridines.

The new contract will begin from early 2008 and it will cover an extension period of up to five years, during which Jubilant will continue supplying the products to Syngenta. This contract is not only an extension to the company's existing multiyear relationship with Syngenta but it also proves their ability to provide enhanced value to their customers through delivery of high quality product and customer service.

Pyridines and their derivatives form part of Jubilant's growth platform under its custom research and manufacturing segment, where it offers both proprietary products and exclusive synthesis options to life science companies. Currently, Jubilant has integrated manufacturing facilities for these products in India.

Recently Jubilant expanded its production capacity for pyridines and picolines to 42,000 TPA and this contract with Syngenta would significantly improve the use of the additional capacity. With this multi year contract and increased capacities Jubilant emerges as the largest player in pyridines worldwide.

"The long term supply agreement for pyridines to Syngenta is a significant recognition of our global leadership position in pyridines and its derivatives. This is further complemented by the strong relationships and confidence we enjoy with our global customers, who are sector leaders in the pharma and agrochemicals business. We strongly believe that besides providing additional and stable stream of revenue and earnings to our custom research and manufacturing segment, this multi-year contract also helps in further demonstrating and establishing Jubilant's global credentials as a preferred outsourcing partner to life science companies," said Shyam S Bhartia, chairman and managing director of Jubilant Organosys.


AMRI opens new research facility in India

Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI) has opened its new 50,000 sft R&D center at the Shapoorji Pallonji Biotech Park in Hyderabad.

The new R&D center, located near AMRI's existing chemistry facilities in Hyderabad in the ICICI Knowledge Park, will provide additional space for AMRI's laboratory-scale Indian operations. The new facility includes laboratories for conducting early stage research such as custom chemical synthesis and analytical chemistry. Additional scale up laboratories for preparing both pre-clinical and clinical trial supply active ingredients are expected to open later this year and 2008, respectively. The larger laboratories will be used to develop efficient methods to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates. The new facility is also equipped with extensive environmental controls and a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment unit. AMRI has invested approximately $8 million in construction and equipment.

During this first phase of expansion, the new R&D center will add approximately 100 employees to AMRI's operations in the ICICI Knowledge Park, which currently has 35 scientists. Additionally, infrastructure has been added at the new site to allow a second facility to be added in the future, which would more than double employee headcount. Dr Rajesh Shenoy, director of AMRI's Hyderabad operations, will oversee these facilities.

"In addition to expanding our capabilities in India, this new state-of-the-art research facility increases our capacity to provide customers with a flexible range of drug discovery and development services out of Asia – all with the same quality they have come to expect from AMRI around the world," said Thomas E D'Ambra, chairman, CEO and president.

"Moreover, as we increase our presence in Asia, AMRI is proud to be contributing to improving work practices for employee opportunities within our industry, as well as setting a high standard and positive example of environmental stewardship."


Jubilant Organosys bags Golden Peacock Global Award 2007

Jubilant Organosys has bagged the coveted Golden Peacock Global Award (2006-07) for "Excellence in Corporate Governance". The award is given by the World Council for Corporate Governance, UK, annually, to companies that have demonstrated benchmark standards of corporate governance. More than 120 entries were received from 24 countries around the world.

The award recognizes Jubilant as having demonstrated best corporate governance practices in the effective functioning of Board and Committees, transparency in disclosure to shareholders and general public, tremendous growth in the company's business results and market capitalization and contribution to social and environmental causes.

Shyam S Bhartia, chairman and managing director said, "Jubilant has rapidly emerged as a true multinational, with a professionalised management team driving its growth, by embodying the highest standards in governance".


Best Biotek to offer consultancy services for biotech SEZ in Goa

Best Biotek Research Labs, a Bangalore based ISO-9001-2000 certified biotechnology company, has been chosen to offer a wide range of services ranging from developmental stage to total execution of the biotech SEZ project coming up in Goa. This includes conceptualization, planning, designing of the biotechnology facility with special infrastrucural facilities required for the biopharmaceutical, bio-industrial, bio-agri and bio-informatics facility coming up in Goa.

Best Biotek has signed an MoU with Singapore-based Jurong Consultants (India) Ltd, which is the principal consultant for the biotech, gems and jewellery park coming up in Goa. The park is coming up in about 130 acres of land with state-of-the-art incubation facility, R&D facility, contract research services and clinical research facility.


TCS extends support to Roche

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and global pharma giant Roche have signed a partnership to advance Roche's Global Capacity Building Initiative (GCBI).

This new initiative will provide services to a number of areas in Roche's development organization, including clinical data management, clinical programming, biostatistics and drug safety support. The aim of the collaboration is to create a high-quality partnership to support the demands of Roche's increasing drug pipeline.

Jean-Jacques Garaud, global head of pharma development at Roche, said, "For Roche, it was key to find the best partner for our GCBI initiative and the collaboration with TCS is the result of an extensive international search. The partnership with TCS will allow us to address the growing operational needs of our development organization and to handle the increasing workload."

"Roche is pleased to have found a local partner in India which has the talents and know-how to support the company in this key initiative. The partnership with TCS will help Roche to leverage the extensive talent pool in India, maximize synergies, and gain ongoing cost and process improvements, while maintaining high quality and service levels," added GL Telang, managing director of Roche India.

Located in Mumbai, the GCBI program consists of a team of highly qualified pharmacologists, physicians, biostatisticians, pharmacists and informatics specialists. TCS will be working closely with Roche and contribute its strong domain expertise, talent management skills, flexible operating models, transition capabilities and performance-driven processes to the initiative.

J Rajagopal, TCS executive vice president and global head, life sciences and healthcare, said, "The Global Capacity Building Initiative with Roche is another validation of TCS' strategy to focus on services supporting the drug development processes and the investments made in building our domain competencies in this area. The opportunity to work with Roche will further enhance our capabilities and help us build a long-term relationship with an innovation driven company like Roche."


Panacea Biotec inaugurates vaccine formulation plant at Baddi

Panacea Biotec inaugurated its greenfield construction Vaccine Formulation plant (VFP) in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. The plant has been commissioned with several filling lines for bacterial and viral vaccines complying with WHO, cGMP norms for liquid vaccines in pre-filled syringes, liquid and lyophilized vaccines in vials. The total production capacity of this facility is one billion doses per annum. The plant was inaugurated by the company chairman, Soshil Kumar Jain.

"The new world class facility has been designed, constructed, and approved for the production of filling lines of bacterial and viral combination vaccines. The unit will increase our production capacity of vaccines substantially in scale and size. It would significantly improve our market presence globally and augment our plans to become a global leader in this field," Soshil Kumar Jain said.

The three-storey production block is spread over approximately 2,800 sqm construction area at each floor. The production floor has non-metallic modular panels for partitioning in the critical area having walkable ceiling for easy maintenance of supply ends for utilities, clean air and lighting system. The plant also has a two-storey block of warehouse-cum-cold storage facility, measuring approximately 2,500 sqm on each floor.

Panacea Biotec also unveiled its new corporate identity on the occasion. The new identity which displays a pole star and tag-line – "Innovation In Support of Life", has been created by a leading designing agency. Speaking about the new identity, Rajesh Jain, joint managing director said, "We have traveled a long way and after having established ourselves as a leading, research based, healthcare company, we now aspire to become a global organization. We aspire to create an innovative, world-class healthcare company, to be respected and quoted for its values, culture and success. This needed a different perception about the company and here we are with our new identity."


ICRI to open fifth campus in UK

Institute of Clinical Research (India), ICRI, India's premiere institution in clinical research studies, has announced its fifth campus in the Cavendish College London, UK. ICRI also announced the launch of a unique course, the first of its kind in the world-a global PG Diploma in Clinical Research in association with ICR-UK.

The new course in unique as it will include regulations for clinical research in the US, Europe, Japan and India. This will help in producing professionals for global market. It will be a part time course and the first batch will start in February 2008 with 40 students. The faculty will be from the US, Europe, UK and India to teach on it. This course is aimed at all working in pharmaceutical industry, hospitals and CROs. The students completing the global PG program will be eligible for the MSc program of Cranfield University directly since the University recognises the program.

Anand K Nair, president, national operations, Institute of Clinical Research India (ICRI), said, "We do believe that the ICRI brand must now get outside India and establish itself as a global brand. The course we are introducing is the first course of its kind in the world as it meets the international requirements of clinical research industry. Our aim is to become the future torch bearer for similar institutes globally."

Dr SK Gupta, dean and director general, ICRI said, "We aim to address the need for qualified and trained clinical research professionals globally by offering various programs conveniently placed. Being an integral part of this industry on a global platform, we understand the market and its need. Clinical research is a global industry and hence the courses, faculty, practices-all need to be global and the best practices from all over the world. I am confident the students will benefit tremendously from this course and we wish them the very best. We as an institute are constantly benchmarking ourselves to international best practices in our domain."


CSIR celebrates annual foundation day

CSIR celebrated its 65th Foundation Day on September 26, 2007 at the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi. Kapil Sibal, minister for science and technology and earth sciences, gave away the CSIR Young Scientist Awards 2007 and also the CSIR Technology Awards 2007.

In his address, Sibal said that CSIR has done well to build up the scientific and technological capability in the country and support the industry in the past when the endeavor was for technological self-reliance. However, in this era of global competitiveness, CSIR has to be sensitive and alert to the changing needs of the industry and continuously reposition its programs and operations to be cost-effective and responsive to the market, he emphasized.

"Our future lies in innovation-not only in manufacturing but also in agriculture, services and governance as well. Our scientific, technological, demographic and entrepreneurial potential are huge. This is our collective factor advantage, which can propel us as valued participants in the innovative global economy and be the turning point in achieving our nation's fortunes. We now need to focus and concentrate on leveraging our strengths and opportunities to unleash India's innovation potential," he concluded.

Prof. MS Swaminathan, chairman, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, Prof. P Balaram, director, IISc, Bangalore, and other eminent personalities participated in the CSIR Foundation Day celebrations.


ASSOCHAM summit stresses on significance of nanotechnology

In acknowledgement of the growing potential of biotechnology and nanotechnology in India, ASSOCHAM organized the 5th Knowledge Millennium Summit on "B2B Bio and Nanaotechnology" in New Delhi from September 18-21, 2007 to bring together a platform to discuss the future potential in these areas. The event brought together leading academicians, policy makers, industry and scientists to brainstorm on the synergy between the two disciplines and how it is going to drive the engines of R&D in the years to come.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Sharad Pawar, the union minister for agriculture, food and civil supplies, consumer affairs and public distribution, said, "Biotechnology takes agriculture from the era of genetically modified crops to the brave new world of atomically modified organisms". He added, "The application of biotechnology in the last decade has led to an increase in crop productivity, lowering production costs and increasing the stability of crop production."

Citing GM crops as possibly the biggest development made possible due to biotechnology, he said, "In 2005, the area under GM crop varieties in 21 countries across the world increased to 90 million hectares. In India itself, the area under Bt cotton rose to 1.3 million hectares in the same year."

Concluding that bionanotechnology is an interdisciplinary subject resulting from a synergy between two different disciplines viz, biotechnology and nanotechnology, he said, "It offers diverse opportunities in fields related to sciences, agriculture, food safety and medicine."

Dr Geetha Reddy, minister for major industries, sugar, commerce and export promotion, Government of Andhra Pradesh, outlined the initiatives taken by the state government to promote biotechnology. She particularly cited the setting up of a biotech park in collaboration with Shapoorji Pallonji in AP to make it a biotech hub in India.

The day also saw Prof. Peter Grutter, professor of Physics, Mcgill University and research director, NSERC, Nano Innovation Platform, Canada and Dr CNR Rao, National Research Professor and Linus Pauling Professor, being awarded the Millenium Knowledge Awards at the event.

Dr Peter Grutter accepted the 5th Knowledge Millenium Award from Sharad Pawar, announcing that his research would mainly concentrate on producing instrumentations within absolute limits given by nature so that perfect harmonious balance is struck between sustained economic development and nature.

Dr CNR Rao said, "Nanotechnology is an area where India has to make advances. We are still to make a pure nanotube. Thirty three percent of it is metallic but what we want is a pure nanotube. One of the major areas in the coming decades would be biotechnology-tagging genomes, DNA hybridization, studying cancer and MRI imaging. The most important applications however would involve nanotechnology. For example, can we create an artificial spinal cord? One can grow it by tissue engineering and these are the areas which will thrive in the future."

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