• 10 September 2009
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Bio News

Emami Biotech to invest $80 mn in Ethiopia

Emami Biotech, a subsidiary of Emami group, will invest Rs 400 crore (around $80 million) in a jatropha plantation project in Oromia, Ethiopia, over the next six years. Apart from jatropha, the company will also grow sunflower, castor, pulses and herbs like menthol in the East African country. Emami Biotech will pump in 30 percent of the project cost, with the rest to be mobilized from banks and financial institutions.
Emami has been allocated one lakh acre by the Oromia Investment Commission, the nodal agency in Oromia for allotting and distributing land for industrial and agricultural purposes. The land is being offered on a 45-year renewable lease basis. The company believes that once operations start in full swing, it would be able to churn out one lakh tonnes of crude biofuel per annum. “The biofuel will be exported to India for producing biodiesel at our own plant at Haldia,” said Aditya V Agarwal, director of Eamani Biotech at a press conference.
With a capacity to produce 1,800 tonnes of edible oil per day and 300 tonnes of biodiesel from palm oil, Emami Biotech currently operates an integrated plant at Haldia in West Bengal. The company had also decided to set up one coast-based unit each in the West and South India.

Syngene Vivarium receives AAALAC accreditation

Syngene International, the subsidiary of Biocon, has been officially accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International). The AAALAC International accreditation program evaluates organizations that use animals in research, teaching or testing. Those companies that meet or exceed AAALAC standards are awarded accreditation.
Goutam Das, COO, Syngene, said, “Accreditation benefits an institution and the animals in its care in many ways. Each time a new organization becomes accredited, it helps to raise the global benchmark for animal wellbeing in science. We are delighted to receive this accreditation, as it only confirms our quality norms and the global standards we follow.”
After an institution earns accreditation, it must be re-evaluated every three years in order to maintain its accredited status. Currently, more than 770 organizations in 31 countries have earned AAALAC accreditation.

Prescient rolls out hands-on training programs

Bangalore-based Prescient Biosciences has rolled out hands-on training and development initiatives for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Dr Ramasamy Annadurai, CEO of Prescient Biosciences, announced the inauguration of the new training and development institute in Bangalore. The institute was built with a substantial investments from various sectors, and support of several eminent academicians, researchers, statesmen from the biopharmaceutical industry and some leading companies in bioinstrumentation sector. The state-of-the-art facility has come up in 12,000 sq. ft., building in Peenya Industrial Area, Bangalore. The institute has the capacity to train 500 professionals every year.
The specialized courses offered by this institute are in the areas of molecular and cell biology, drug discovery, computational biology and bioprocess. The institute provides facilities for imparting training in areas like tissue culture, microscopy, bioinformatics, bioprocess filtration, purification and chromatography. The faculties of the institute comprise eminent scientists, researchers and business leaders with enough academic and industry experiences.

Ocimum, fastest-growing private companies in US

 Ocimum Biosolutions, a leading integrated life sciences solutions company based in India and the US, has been listed in the third annual ‘Inc. 5000’, an exclusive ranking of the America’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the  important segment of the US economy, especially independent-minded entrepreneurs.
Anuradha Acharya, CEO, Ocimum Biosolutions, said, “We are excited to be listed amongst the fastest growing companies by Inc. magazine. It has been an exhilarating, fast and progressive eight years for Ocimum since our inception in 2001. It has been very pleasing looking back at our progress and efforts we have put in for adding value through our increasing range of truly integrated genomics solutions.”

Indus Biotech to develop antiviral for swine flu

Pune-based Indus Biotech plans to develop a new antiviral, which is derived from plant, to fight against the H1N1 virus.
Meanwhile, Indus has filed an investigational new drug (IND) application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the compound’s action against HIV, and subsequent research at one of the laboratories it works with at the National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei, showed that the compound is very effective against H1N1 virus.
The company now proposes to develop this drug for influenza and H1N1, both as a drug as well as prophylactic as it promises to prevent the infection. The Indus team will present the data to the health ministry and seek its approval as India, unlike the US, doesn’t have guidelines for botanical drugs, drugs that are made from plant extracts.

Indian court dismisses Bayer’s patent claim

The Delhi High Court has dismissed German pharma company Bayer’s petition seeking to block Cipla from gaining regulatory approval for generic version of Bayer’s patented kidney cancer drug Nexavar.
Bayer and its Indian unit Bayer Polychem had filed a petition in November 2008, after the Indian drug regulator, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), approved Cipla’s generic sorefenib tosylate, Soranib.
Cipla, based in Mumbai is known for launching generic version of various patented medicines both in India and elsewhere. Bayer said it received the Indian patent for the drug in March 2008, thus allowing it to market the drug exclusively for 20 years. And if Cipla were to launch a generic version of the kidney cancer drug, it would have infringed on Bayer’s patent.

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