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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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,
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.