Rallis India, a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals, has acquired a majority
stake of 53.5 percent in Bangalore-based Metahelix Life sciences, a
seed research company. Rallis will subscribe to an additional equity of
5.52 million to increase its stake in Metahelix to 59 percent on a
fully-diluted basis with an option of acquiring up to 100 percent
equity in Metahelix over a five-year period.
Metahelix has been in the forefront of developing superior products in
major vegetable crops through improved genetics and breeding
technologies for insect and disease protection. Started in 2001,
Metahelix has offered a large number of differentiated hybrids in many
important crops like rice, maize, millet, tomato, chili and okra. It is
also the only Indian company which has completely developed its own Bt
cotton technology, which has been approved for commercial cultivation.
Further, it has several biotech products in rice, maize and vegetables
in its R&D pipeline. The wholly-owned subsidiary, Dhaanya Seeds,
has successfully popularized the products among large number of farmers
across the country through quality seeds, product differentiation,
agronomy support and a nation-wide distribution network.
By leveraging the market reach of Rallis and the well-established
distribution platform available through Tata Kisan Sansar (TKS),
Metahelix hopes to be among the top agri technology companies in India
in the next five years.
Advinus ties-up for Epic technology
Advinus Therapeutics, the research-based pharma company promoted by the
TATA Group in India, and Corning, the US-based material science company
are collaborating to bring Corning Epic label-free detection technology
The collaboration enables Advinus to leverage the Corning Epic
technology to enhance its own drug discovery capabilities and to
provide assay development and screening services to companies both in
India and abroad.
The technology combines biochemical detection and cellular analysis on
a single label-free platform to enable a better understanding of
biological activity for a wide range of research applications.
Ocimum builds GLP-compliant lab
Ocimum Biosolutions, an integrated global genomics outsourcing partner
is building a GLP compliant, genomic and diagnostic labs in Hyderabad.
The construction will be completed using a part of the recently closed
$8 million worth funding. This four acre campus is scheduled to be
ready by March 2011.
With the funding, Ocimum will add new offerings in the clinical trial
support services, biomarker discovery and biobanking this year as it
intends to widen its solution offerings to encompass the entire drug
discovery value chain by being a one-stop solution provider.
GSK to sell US penicillin facility
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories have signed an
agreement relating to GSK’s US oral penicillin facility and product
portfolio. Under the agreement, GSK will transfer ownership of its
penicillin manufacturing site in Bristol, US, and rights for the
Augmentin and Amoxil brands in the US to Dr Reddy’s. GSK will retain
the existing rights for these brands outside the US.
This transaction is targeted to close within the first half of 2011.
Further financial terms and conditions of the agreement have not been
Jubilant creates life sciences entity
Jubilant Life Sciences, formerly known as Jubilant Organosys, an
integrated pharma and life sciences company in India, has demerged its
agri and performance polymers business into an independent company
Jubilant Industries, which will be a part of Jubilant Bhartia Group.
In order to create a focused life sciences entity, Jubilant Life
Sciences, offering life sciences products and services to the global
life sciences industry has demerged this business. This demerger will
enable focused growth across businesses for both the entities and will
allow the companies to deliver value to its stakeholders.
Jubilant Life Sciences is the largest custom research and manufacturing
services company in India.
GE Healthcare collaborates for
Global healthcare major, GE Healthcare has announced a research
agreement to collaborate with Janssen Pharmaceutica, Belgium to
identify a biosignature related to Alzheimer’s disease. This research
effort will combine expertise in data integration, informatics,
genomics and imaging. Its goal will be to find a biosignature that may
enable the detection of Alzheimer’s disease before the onset of
clinical symptoms. The collaboration is part of a broad portfolio of
diagnostic solutions that GE Healthcare is developing in the
“The collaboration is part of the effort to understand Alzheimer’s
that helps physicians to make more informed decisions about
Phase III trials are underway for GE Healthcare’s amyloid PET imaging
Agilent launches express
Agilent Technologies, the US-based measurement company focusing on
advancing electronics, communications, life sciences and chemical
analysis, has introduced express configurations for the popular CXA/EXA
signal analyzers and MXG signal generators.
Express configuration products provide fast, off-the-shelf delivery of
the most popular test and measurement configurations. This service is
said to ensure that test equipment is shipped as fast as possible to
customers’ research and development and manufacturing lines, ready for
immediate use, saving time, effort and expense. Express configuration
solutions are preconfigured, functionally identical versions of
Agilent’s custom-configurable products. Express configurations also
offer value pricing for the most commonly ordered features.
India, Sweden partnership on pharma,
India and Sweden have decided to strengthen their collaboration in
healthcare. Maternal and child health, adolescent health, public health
and alcohol policy, medical and pharma products, public health research
and infectious disease control, and anti-microbial resistance are some
of the areas of interest. The Indian Minister of Health, Mr Ghulam Nabi
Azad held discussions with Ms Karin Johansson, state secretary,
Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and her delegation from Sweden in
India has been supporting Swedish initiatives in the areas of
anti-microbial resistance and alcohol abuse in various international
forums, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Mr Azad informed
the Swedish Minister about the National Task Force on Anti-Microbial
Resistance, which is set up by the Ministry of Health to help formulate
policies to check the spread of anti-microbial resistance.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two
countries in February 2009. In the last one-and-a-half year, since the
MoU came into existence, three joint working group meetings two
in India and one in Geneva, have been held.
Indo-German research center in
Playing a proactive role in facilitating participation of industry in
joint R&D projects, and assistance in mobilizing resources to carry
out industrial R&D projects, India and Germany have jointly set up
research center in Gurgaon, Haryana.
While inaugurating the Indo-German Science and Technology Center
(IGSTC) in Gurgaon, Dr T Ramasami, secretary, Department of Science
& Technology, Government of India, has informed that the
contribution from the Indian government for this project was $2.89
million (Rs 13 crore). The German government has committed $2.64
million for the project. The IGSTC envisages participation of private
industry in the joint research projects. It will be managed by a
governing body (GB) comprising of up to five members from each side
representing the ministries, academia and industry. The GB is
co-chaired by nominees from both the countries and will alternately
preside over the meeting of the GB.
India emerges as global research hub
India has emerged as an international hub of scientific research in the
last decade due to the growth in number of global R&D centers,
increase in outsourced R&D, increase in R&D investment from
both public and private sectors, availability of talent pool, and rise
in research publications. However, the interrelationship of knowledge
or R&D with other factors such as innovation, macroeconomic
environment, infrastructure, health and primary education needs
strengthening to convert knowledge into inclusive growth.
According to the UNESCO Science Report 2010, India’s share in world
publications is 3.7 percent in 2008. In terms of patents, there is
relatively low share of patents filed in India in comparison to those
of China. According to the World Intellectual Property Indicators-2009
Report, India filed 28,940 patents in 2006-07, as compared to 2,45,161
patents filed by China. The government has taken various steps for the
promotion and growth of scientific research in the country. The
government has also increased the 11th Five Year Plan fund allocation
for scientific departments to $16 bn (
75,304 cr) from $5.5 bn (
25,301 cr) in 10th Five Year Plan.
India, Russia strengthen ties
The IV Russian-Indian Forum on Trade and Investments was held on
December 20, 2010, with the aim of developing partnership in
information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals and life
sciences, energy and energy resources, chemical products and
fertilizers. Over 400 delegates from Russia and India took part in the
event. The forum was organized by the Ministry for Economic Development
of the Russian Federation, with support from St. Petersburg
International Economic Forum Foundation; Ministry of Trade and Industry
of India, with support from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Many agreements and memoranda on cooperation in life sciences between
Russian and Indian companies were signed during the forum, which
include, memorandum of intent between Pharmasyntez JSC and Naprod Life
Sciences on joint production of oncological medicines. The business
dialogue will continue at the St. Petersburg International Economic
Forum on June 16-18, 2011.
TERI, Deakin to set up nanobiotech
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India; and Deakin University
of Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to
establish the TERI-Deakin Nano Biotechnology Research Center, a center
of excellence to enhance nanobiotech sector in India.
In May, 2010, an MoU was signed by the Deakin University Vice
Chancellor, Prof Sally Walker and TERI’s Executive Director, Dr Leena
Srivastava in the presence of India’s Minister for Education, Mr Kapil
Sibal and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Ms Julia Gillard, as part
of Minister Sibal’s diplomatic visit to Australia. This development is
an outcome of TERI’s core capability of knowledge creation and
development of efficient, environment-friendly technologies; and
Deakin’s India Research Initiative.
UM opens education, research center
As an initiative to strengthen ties between India and the Netherlands,
Maastricht University (UM), one of the leading international
universities in The Netherlands, has inaugurated its Maastricht
Education and Research Center in Bangalore, on December 6, 2010.
Dr Jo Ritzen, president of Maastricht University inaugurated the
center. Prior to the inauguration, memorandums of understanding (MoUs)
were signed with leading research institutes in India to enhance
knowledge sharing between two countries in the areas of health,
medicine and life sciences, business and economics, law, psychology and
neuroscience, arts and social sciences, humanities, and sciences. The
new center offers PhDs in areas that are more relevant to India and the
research activities will be co-guided by the experts at the Maastricht
Delivering the inaugural address, Dr Ritzen said, “This research
collaboration aims at providing the best platform for blending research
dynamics of India with the accomplishments of Europe. This initiative
will give full-fledged research strength to India; and thereby it
enables research enhancement.”
New Delhi to host Vaccine World
Vaccine leaders from developing and developed countries will gather at
the Vaccine World Summit in New Delhi from March 1-3, 2011. The event
will be hosted by IMAPAC, Singapore, in partnership with Developing
Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN).
Participants will discuss strategies to tackle global public health
challenges including appropriate pandemic surveillance programs, low
cost and fast vaccine manufacturing technologies, innovative adjuvants
and delivery systems, vaccine research funding opportunities and the
latest clinical results of new and next generation vaccines fighting
life-threatening infectious diseases such as cholera, malaria, dengue,
AIDS and rotavirus infection.Vaccine World Summit is slated to bring
together a distinguished panel of speakers.
WHO endorses new rapid TB test
The World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed a new and novel rapid test
for tuberculosis (TB). The test could revolutionize TB care and
control, by providing an accurate diagnosis for many patients in about
100 minutes, compared to current tests that can take up to three months
to have results.
WHO’s endorsement of the rapid test, which is a fully-automated nucleic
acid amplification test (NAAT) follows 18 months of rigorous assessment
of its field effectiveness in the early diagnosis of TB, as well as
multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and TB complicated by HIV infection,
which are more difficult to diagnose.
Evidence to-date indicates that implementation of this test could
result in a three-fold increase in the diagnosis of patients with
drug-resistant TB and a doubling in the number of HIV-associated TB
cases diagnosed in areas with high rates of TB and HIV.
Many countries still rely principally on sputum smear microscopy, a
diagnostic method that was developed over a century ago. But this new
‘while you wait’ test incorporates modern DNA technology that can be
used outside of conventional laboratories. It also benefits from being
fully-automated and therefore easy and safe to use.