• 9 March 2007
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Biocon plans manufacturing plant at Vizag

Biocon plans manufacturing plant at Vizag

Bangalore's infrastructure bottlenecks seems to have forced Biocon to contemplate setting up a manufacturing unit at the Jawahar Pharma City, a special economic zone(SEZ) in the coastal Andra Pradesh city of Vishakapatnam.

Biocon CMD, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw made this announcement during the 4th BioAsia conference in Hyderabad in mid-February. "Given the current size of Biocon's operations, it is imperative to have a multi-locational strategy to de-risk the business. Biocon had examined several options before identifying the Jawahar Pharma City SEZ as being the most suitable," she said in a statement.

Biocon will continue to invest in its R&D center in Bangalore and also use it as the high value, low volume manufacturing center. "High volume, low value manufacturing needs a lower investment and operational cost base to be globally competitive. The main selection criteria pertained to power supply, water supply, effluent treatment services as well as SEZ," she explained.

Mazumdar-Shaw, however, denied some news reports which said Biocon has bought 50 acres of land in the Vizag SEZ. Biocon's choice of Andhra Pradesh for the expansion plans has been forced by the lackluster attitude of the Karnataka government in extending the much-needed infrastructure facilities to biotech units in the state. The Andhra Pradesh government, however, has been very proactive in wooing industrial units to the state by providing various key facilities.

Biocon has invested heavily at this Bangalore facility to equip itself with 100 percent standby power generation capability, a zero discharge effluent treatment facility and water supply arrangements. Most of these facilities may be offered at the Vishakapatnam SEZ without the companies having to make such investments.

The 2000-acre SEZ in Vishakapatnam is being jointly developed by Ramkey Group and the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Investment Corporation(APIIC).


Ethypharm in licensing deal with Shantha Biotechnics for India

Ethypharm India, a subsidiary of leading French drug delivery company Ethypharm SA, announced on February 26, 2007 out-licensing and supply contract agreements for Ondansetron Flashtab with Shantha Biotechnics for India. As per the agreement, the products will be supplied from Ethypharm's manufacturing facility near Mumbai as finished and packaged formulations and marketed and distributed by Shantha Biotechnics.

Ajey Kumar, chief executive officer of Ethypharm India, said, "Taste-masked and flavored Ondansetron Flashtab disperses rapidly when placed on the tongue. As the tablet does not need to be swallowed with water, it is a particularly useful formulation for patients who have difficulty with swallowing or who do not feel able to drink, especially cancer patients. Introduction of Ondansetron Flashtab showcases our strength in developing innovative solutions in the fast growing NDDS segment."

Ondansetron is indicated for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, certain radiotherapies, and the prevention of postoperative nausea and/or vomiting. Ondansetron Flashtab is a particularly useful formulation for patients who have difficulty with swallowing or who do not feel able to drink. It provides an effective alternative to the conventional Ondansetron tablet.


Development Agenda on IPRs gets a big boost

The proposal to establish a Development Agenda on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) received a major boost, with the first-ever international meeting on Intellectual Property and development issues related to the Development Agenda concluding its deliberations at New Delhi on Feb 7, 2007. The proposal to establish a Development Agenda contains 111 proposals made by member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

A broad consensus was reached on a number of proposals that have special significant for developing countries. Some of these important proposals are: Proposal to strengthen WIPO's technical cooperation program, taking into account the different levels of development of member states in designing, delivering and evaluating technical assistance; To create a WIPO Partnership Program Database, an internet-based tool to facilitate the strategic use of intellectual property by developing countries by bringing together all stakeholders to match specific IPR-related development needs with available resources, thereby amplifying the impact of intellectual property development assistance; To devise innovative ways and means, including the fostering of transfer of technology, to enable SMEs take better advantage of flexibilities as provided by relevant international agreements and to explore policies, initiatives and reforms necessary to ensure the transfer and dissemination of technology to the benefit of developing countries; And To approach intellectual property enforcement in the context of broader societal interests and development-related concerns, in accordance with Article 7 of the TRIPs Agreement.

Participants from 22 countries were generally in favor of carrying forward the Development Agenda and were also of the opinion that some kind of harmonization could be brought in by merging some of the proposals to address concerns of all stakeholders for expeditious consideration in the ensuing meeting of the WIPO Provisional Committee on Development Agenda.

Discussions were held on six clusters in which all the 111 proposals were categorized. The major issues discussed were: technical assistance and capacity building; norm-setting, flexibilities, public policy and public domain; technology transfer, information and communication technology and access to knowledge; assessments, evaluation and impact studies; institutional matters including mandate and governance.


Synergy Environics offers services to create +ve energy spaces

"Pharmaceutical and biotechnology are key industries. Both are growing and becoming increasingly competitive and demanding. Productivity is the need of the hour. Companies are searching for the X factor that will set them apart. Environics is a combination of ancient wisdom and modern science to fulfil that intrinsic need. We create radiation friendly and positive energy spaces at the facilities to improve health, productivity and inter personal relationships," said Ajay Poddar, managing director, Synergy Environics Ltd.

He further said, "It is encouraging to note that the services offered to Nicholas Piramal received positive response. The positive impacts of the energy on people working at the manufacturing plants in pharma and biotech industry will have positive result in producing effective medicines and drugs. "

Synergy Environics so far has energized more than 200 establishments including factories, corporate offices, sites under development, refineries, etc in the last four years. To meet the growing market and needs of the customers he said, "We are substantially increasing our team by inducting more young people to take up a career in this area."

Synergy Environics Ltd, a research and consulting company engaged in energizing people and build spaces, using environics, encourages use of scientific instruments to check the existing harmful radiations and adopt simple, innovative and non–invasive methods to neutralize radiations and enhance positive energy levels.


Advanced Enzyme gets process patent for leather

Advanced Enzyme Technologies Ltd (AETL), one of the leading manufacturers of enzymes and probiotics in India, has received a process patent, 'Eco-Friendly WET Blue Manufacturing', for leather manufacturing. This comes as a relief to the leather industry, as there has been a major cause of concern, resulting in a clampdown on many units by the Pollution Control Board (PCB). The value of the patented process is over $200 million and is purely based on the developed technology. The development of this process and technology including the transfer to the plant scale has taken over two years.

According to a press release, a superior procedure has been used over the conventional procedure to process hides. This process will now allow for better quality of leather in terms of its grain structure. The conventional processing of leather is done using heavy toxic chemicals like lime, sulphide, emulsifiers and salts which lead to health issues of the operators, users and also causes ecological imbalances. Due to this reason the European, Indian and Chinese governments are laying strict regulations for use of eco-friendly products. Hence, there is a need for the industry to look at eco-friendly solutions, and enzymes to effectively address the issue. At present, tanneries are also under tremendous pressure to deal with these issues including pressure on meeting processing cost.

CL Rathi, managing director, AETL, said, "The global Indian market for leather is valued at $98 billion and India has close to 2.5 percent share in the world market which amounts to around $2.25 billion. However, the Indian leather market is expected to double by the year 2010 to $4.5-5.0 billion. This is because leather technology in India is rapidly evolving to produce high quality leather using eco-friendly processes and AETL is proud to be contributing to this technology"

Dipak Roda, general manager, marketing, AETL, said, "AETL has also made a foray into China as well as Bangladesh in addition to India and will be focusing on the leather industry for the next two years. This process will provide a boost for the company in the leather markets and AETL plans to take its success to the American and European countries as well".


Ranbaxy signs R&D pact with GSK

Ranbaxy Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline have signed a new multiyear R&D agreement that modifies and expands the terms of their strategic alliance established in 2003 to provide Ranbaxy expanded drug-development responsibilities and further financial opportunities.

Under the new agreement, Ranbaxy will advance leads beyond candidate selection to completion of clinical proof of concept. GSK thereafter will conduct further clinical development for each program and take resulting products through the regulatory approval process to final commercialization. Under the original agreement, Ranbaxy conducted the optimization chemistry required to progress drug leads to the stage of candidate selection.

As per the new agreement, Ranbaxy could receive over $100 million in potential milestone payments for a product developed by Ranbaxy and subsequently launched by GSK in multiple indications and up to double digit royalties on worldwide net sales. Ranbaxy will retain the right to co-commercialize the products in India. The new milestones and royalties will apply both to future drug discovery programs and to the two programs currently ongoing at Ranbaxy that were commenced under the original agreement with GSK. This expanded alliance envisages potential work in a wide range of therapeutics of interest to GSK, including anti-infectives and metabolic, respiratory and oncology products.

Welcoming the expanded agreement with GSK, Malvinder Mohan Singh, CEO and MD, Ranbaxy, said, "The agreement presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate the India centric advantages of high quality R&D to deliver value at the cutting edge. I believe the arrangement with GSK is path-breaking and acknowledges the higher level of R&D maturity prevalent today in our state-of-the art labs in India."

Bio News Bangalore to build exclusive Knowledge City

Bangalore to build exclusive Knowledge City

A "Knowledge City" which will house over 7,50,000 people engaged in cutting edge research in high tech areas and life sciences will come up in the suburbs of India's Silicon City Bangalore within 18 months.

"The work on the City will begin on April 1, 2007 and it will be built by some of the world's topmost infrastructure companies. We have shortlisted 18 companies and the contract will be awarded in April," said the head of the local Karnataka government agency that is spearheading the project, MN Vidyashankar.

The $2-billion, 10,000-acre campus of the "Knowledge City" is coming up on the outskirts of Bangalore and the entire land requirement has been acquired for this purpose. The government had used satellite data to identify non-farm and uninhabited land for the project. This is to avoid the controversies surrounding recent Special Economic Zone(SEZ) on the Chinese model coming up in different parts of the country over land acquisition for such industrial project.

Vidyashankar said the campus will have R&D centers of foreign and Indian companies and about 20 percent of them will be from the life sciences sector, including several drug discovery units.


Indian pharma industry set to impact UK in 2007: IndusView

IndusView, the India-focused cross-border advisory firm, has predicted that India's pharmaceutical sector would reach critical mass this year, propelling Indian globalization strategies.

The pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow by more than 13 per cent to $6.5 billion in 2007 and reach a market size of $9.5 billion by 2010, surpassing the growth trends of 9.5 percent recorded over the last five years. The ability to produce high quality, low cost drugs will see India's exports spike in the coming months.

"The progressive trend in this sector is expected to continue due to increased integration with global trade which began with the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in January 2005. India started to recognize global patents and the growing significance of the country in terms of contract research and clinical trials," said Bundeep Singh Rangar, chairman of IndusView.

He further said, "European pharmaceutical services companies will be prime targets for takeovers in the next year. Indian companies have reached critical mass and are set for lift off. And the Indian companies make headlines- grabbing overseas acquisitions to buy customer relationships and intellectual property."


Steps for sustainable growth of biotech industry

"The Indian biotech industry is at the crossroads. On one hand India is being increasing seen as a biomanufacturing hub leveraging the advantages that accrue from operating in this geography. On the other hand, the local industry is rapidly scaling up to participate in the global opportunities," said Utkarsh Palnitkar, industry leader, biotechnology practice, Ernst & Young Pvt Ltd.

Releasing a report on "Indian Biotech industry: 7 steps to glory" at a biotech seminar organized by Chemtech Foundation, he said, "For sustainable growth, the industry needs to look at the seven parameters like broadbasing of products, identified process, opportunities addressed, technology secure, experienced personnel, capital and finally harmonize risk and rewards."

He further said, "The Indian companies have already identified the areas and have shifted their business models to one of alliances from an erstwhile model of competition. The India story has begun and it is by no means over. The success stories of Shantha Biotechnics and Bharat Biotech have pressed other companies to develop recombinant products indigenously. With investments in basic drug discovery, companies are all set to initiate one of the biggest stories the world has even seen."


ICGEB develops diagnostic kits for Hep-C and dengue

The International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, has developed technology for production of unique virus specific designer recombinant antigens for dengue and Hepatitis C virus. So far these antigens had to be imported at exorbitant costs and of unsure quality. The technology has been developed with the financial support from the department of biotechnology (DBT) and transferred to Goa-based Tulip Group of Companies.

Both these diseases are diagnosed based on immunodiagnostic principles wherein antibodies to the corresponding virus (anti-HCV antibodies in case of HCV infection) and (anti-dengue antibodies in case of dengue infection) react in the test with the corresponding recombinant antigens to produce a visually readable signal. Based on the presence and absence of this signal, a patient can be classified as being sero positive or sero negative for the corresponding infections.

The uniqueness of the kit lies in the fact that it will not test false positive. For these tests to be manufactured, it is imperative that recombinant (genetically engineered) dengue antigens and Hepatitis C antigens are available to be employed in the test systems. Early diagnosis of dengue and Hepatitis C infections are critical for screening, patient management and appropriate therapeutic interventions.


Lupin sells IP on Perindopril

Lupin has entered into an agreement with Laboratoires Servier of France for the sale of certain patent applications and other related Intellectual Property (IP) for Perindopril for multiple countries.

"We are really pleased with this agreement with Servier. It goes a long way to demonstrate our research and IP capabilities," said Dr Kamal K Sharma, managing director, Lupin Ltd.

Lupin is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies with strong research focus has state-of-the-art R&D center in Pune. It has a program for developing New Chemical Entities (NCEs). And it is a leading global player in anti-TB, cephalosporins (anti-infectives) and cardiovascular drugs (prils and statins) and has a notable presence in the areas of diabetology, NSAIDS and asthma.


BoA clears three requests for setting up pharma SEZs

The Board of Approvals has cleared requests from notified SEZs for authorized operations namely Zydus Infrastructure Pvt Ltd- Pharmaceuticals SEZ at Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Hetro Infrastructure Pvt Ltdi - Pharmaceutical SEZ at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh and MIDC Sector specific SEZ for Pharmaceuticals at Krushnor district-Nanded, Maharashtra

The meeting of the Board of Approval was held on February 2, 2007 under the chairmanship of commerce secretary, GK Pillai, in which proposals relating to grant of co-developer status and requests for approval of authorized operations by developers and co-developers in respect of some of the 63 notified SEZs were


S&T ministry prepares plans to hunt for science talents

"The Science and Technology ministry plans to attract talent to study and careers with science through larger investment into science. Various schemes are in pipeline to generate enthusiasm among young students and creating innovative experiences with science i.e. rubbing shoulders with science icons of national and international fame," said Kapil Sibal, the Union minister for science and technology.

The minister who has been optimistic about the double-digit growth of the knowledge-based biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in the country noted that the Indian biotechnology industry would reach $40 billion by 2015. To support the growth of this knowledge-based sector there is need to attract students to take up career in subjects related to basic sciences, he said.

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