Avesthagen, a leading integrated systems biology
platform company, has initiated Avestagenome Project sequencing, a set
of 60 closely related human genomes to identify novel genetic
information relevant to cancer, metabolic and neurological disorders.
Through this project, Avesthagen intends to establish a direct link
between genes, genetics and the disorders. It is known that many genes
on the human chromosomes may be involved during the manifestation of
the above disorders. However, the power of present technologies to
discover the causative genes of such disorders is limited. Sequencing
the 60 genomes for different disorders will be groundbreaking, as
analysis of the mammoth 10 tera bytes of data generated, will enable
scientists to discover novel causative genes on the chromosomes which
may be indicative of occurrence of cancer, metabolic and neurological
Once completed, there will be a better understanding of the genetics
underlying the diseases. The study will help in identifying new and
better drugs, specific for the above mentioned disorders. The discovery
will lead to identifying bio molecules for the accurate prediction of
the disease manifestation.
This study is being carried out in partnership with Genome Enterprise,
a subsidiary of The Genome Analysis Center (TGAC), Norwich Research
Park, UK. The TGAC team, specialists in DNA sequencing and
bioinformatics, will use Life Technologies' SOLiD 4 sequencing
platform, and will collaborate with the Avesthagen's own bioinformatics
experts to analyze and interpret the sequence data.
CIM in JV for immunology research
Biocon, a premier biotech company in India, and the Center of Molecular
Immunology (CIM), based in Havana, Cuba, have strengthened their
existing research partnership by joining forces for an integrated
antibody program in immunology. Both entities have successfully
collaborated for almost a decade, on an integrated program to
manufacture and clinically evaluate recombinant proteins, with the aim
of building a portfolio, based on therapeutic biotechnology products
for chronic diseases. Two drugs have already been approved for medical
use in India and other territories. A novel monoclonal antibody
targeting the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor for the treatment of
cancer, and the human recombinant Erythropoietin, for the control of
anemia in chronic kidney diseases were developed under stringent
medical regulatory standards.
Focusing to build on this successful partnership, Biocon and CIM are
moving to create an innovative product pipeline, focused on autoimmune
diseases and cancer. Fundamental research performed at CIM and Biocon,
has defined the anti-inflammatory capacity of a novel monoclonal
antibody, an Anti-CD6 Monoclonal Antibody. This molecule targets
lymphocytes, the key players in the immunopathology of autoimmune
diseases. Experimental data supports its effect in controlling
inflammation, that can cause damage to tissues. The research results
have been endorsed by scientific journals, and discussed in
“This Anti-CD6 targeting antibody is a first-in-class molecule, that
has recently transited to advanced clinical trials, for the treatment
of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis patients,” said Dr Kiran
Majumdar-Shaw, chairman & managing director of Biocon.
develops life saving vaccines
Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad-based biotechnology major focusing on
vaccines, biopharmaceuticals and contract research hosted a four-day
Annual General Meet of
Developing Countries Vaccine Manufactures Network (DCVMN) from Sep
13-16, 2010. Over 125 participants from 31 vaccine manufacturers,
representing 14 countries and 12 international agencies, participated
in this year's annual meet.
Dr Akira Homma, president of DCVMN, said, “DCVMN provides two-third of
the vaccines used in the world. The DCVMN is an important partner in
Global Immunization Agenda, as its goals are aligned to Global Alliance
for Vaccine Immunization (GAVI).”
flu casualties continue in India
With the monsoon active in India, there has been no decrease in the
casualties from H1N1 influenza virus attack. According to Indian
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the lab confirmed cases reported
during the week of Sep 6-12, 2010 were 1,011; with 75 deaths reported
during the same period. All 1,011 cases reported during the week were
Out of the 75 deaths reported, Maharashtra has the most victims,
followed by Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The casualties of swine flu
include 22 deaths reported from Maharashtra, 18 from Madhya Pradesh and
15 from Gujarat. Till date, the samples from 177,816 persons have been
tested for influenza.
BT Industry to reach 36,107 cr by 2015'
According to the knowledge report released jointly
by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Yes Bank, the
Indian biotechnology industry would grow at a CAGR of 20 percent to
achieve a market size of
36,107 crore ($8 billion) by 2015.
The report titled 'India Life Sciences: Vision 2015' has attributed the
growth to various new developments in the industry, including the
launch of numerous initiatives to lend support to the industry by the
the union and state governments. While highlighting the rapidly growing
market in India, the report has also estimated that India will capture
roughly three-to-five percent of the global biopharmaceuticals market
Indian biotechnology companies have been steadily receiving large
orders for combination vaccines from the Central Government, under its
numerous immunization initiatives. The demand for specific conjugates
in the pediatric and adolescent segment, is also stimulating growth of
the market. Breakthrough products, such as Shanchol – the bivalent oral
vaccine, jointly developed by Shantha Biotech and International Vaccine
Institute, will further boost demand.
The report says that the global biotechnology industry is undergoing
transition, creating enabling factors that can aid the growth of the
Indian biotechnology industry. It suggests that India can play a key
role in reducing cost and time-to-market, for new drug development
through outsourcing various components of the drug development
process. There is an opportunity for research and development (R&D)
focused Indian biotechnology companies to enter into such alliances,
through collaborative development projects.
signs MoU with TERI
A 15-member delegation from the Utrecht province of the Netherlands,
led by The Queen's Commissioner, R Robbertsen, visited India recently,
with a mission to explore academics and business cooperation between
the Utrecht regions and the Indian counterparts.
On Sep 13, 2010, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between
the Utrecht province and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in
India, to initiate their European office in Utrecht.
Under the existing MoU between the Netherlands and India, Indian
private partners can participate in public-private partnerships; and in
a way that opportunities can be explored, both for Indian companies in
the Netherlands and Dutch companies in India. The areas covered under
scientific and industrial collaboration include biomass conversion,
energy efficiency, water and sustainable cities.
India, Brazil discuss ethanol
India and Brazil are exploring the possibilities of cooperation in
production of ethanol and investment in agriculture. A 13-member
delegation led by Sharad Pawar, minister of Agriculture, Consumer
affairs, Food and Public distribution, Government of India, visited
Brazil; and had a bilateral meeting with Wagner Rossi, minister for
agriculture, livestock and food supply of Brazil.
The delegation met with the officials of the Brazilian Ministry of
Agriculture in Sao Paulo on Sep 8, 2010, and the directors of UNICA
(Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association), who made a presentation on
the Brazilian sugar and ethanol industry.
devices cluster in AP
Andhra Pradesh has plans to set up the country's first MedTech Valley,
a world-class cluster for manufacturing medical devices and diagnostic
equipment near Genome Valley at Shameerpet, in Hyderabad.
The state government will provide 1,200 acres of land for the project.
In phase I, 200 acres are being developed by the Hyderabad Metropolitan
Development Authority. The project will be executed via a
public-private partnership model, and will get assistance from the
central government for infrastructure development.
This cluster is expected to attract global investors in manufacturing
of medical devices and equipments; and would provide world-class