12 BT finishing schools in Karnataka
In a gala function on September 15, 2011, the Karnataka government
launched the ambitious project of BT Finishing Schools in Bangalore.
Twelve biotechnology finishing schools in eight districts of Karnataka
were launched on this occasion.
The institutions to host this program were chosen on the basis of
available infrastructure and faculty and collaborations with industry.
Depending on the facilities available, any of the eight domains, such
as fermentation and bioprocessing, cellular and molecular diagnostics,
protein expression & scale-up, nutraceuticals and food processing,
plant genetic transformation, genome, seed and marker analysis,
bioinformatics and rational drug design, pre-clinical, clinical
research, biostatistics and data management and plant tissue culture
and micro propagation.
The 12 institutions that have been identified are Visvesvaraya College
of Applied Sciences, Gulbarga, Manipal University, Manipal, St Aloysius
College, Mangalore, JSS University, Mysore, Oxford College of Science,
Bangalore, Maharani Lakshmi Ammani College for Women, Bangalore,
Padmashree Institute of Management, Bangalore, PES Institute of
Technology, Bangalore, Siddaganga Institute of Technology, Tumkur,
Probiosis, Bangalore, MM Arts & Science College, Sirsi and
Dayanandsagar Institution, Bangalore.
The event was presided by dignitaries, such as Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw,
CMD, Biocon and chairperson, Karnataka’s Vision Group on Biotechnology,
Prof Padmanabhan, Indian Institute of Science IISc, Bangalore, Mr M N
Vidyashankar, principal secretary, e-Governance, IT, BT and S&T
Department, Government of Karnataka.
FDI not equivalent to high price: GSK CEO
Mr Andrew Witty, chief executive officer (CEO) of GlaxoSmithKline,
while speaking at the recent annual general meeting of the Organization
of Pharmaceutical Producers of India in Mumbai on September 27, said
foreign ownership of Indian companies did not equate to high
price of medicines. “The reality of the situation is that putting a cap
on foreign investments sends wrong signals about India to the world.
Foreign investments connect India globally on the R&D front.
Foreign companies open doorways for India in terms of exports.”
He added that if India had to go up the value chain, it must focus
on drug discovery R&D, which can happen only from exposure of
international companies. He also said if the IP regime in India did not
address the issue of providing appropriate shield and protection to
foreign companies, the probability of high-risk research in India
would be low. “Foreign investors need to have some certainty that their
risk will be rewarded. This would be a stimulus for R&D in India,”
Witty said. He also pointed out that IP protection did not amount to
high pricing of medicines.
Later, speaking to the media, Mr Witty said GSK was on the lookout for
acquisitions in India but they were more disciplined while
allocating capital for acquisitions. “We continue to look out for
acquisitions, but the right deals (which are) somewhere in the $1-to-2
GE, Veran form strategic alliance
GE Healthcare, the $17 billion healthcare unit of General Electric
Company, and Veran Medical Technologies, a privately-held medical
device company, entered into a strategic alliance to advance and
co-develop navigation technologies for interventional procedures to
improve the care and management of cancer patients. Building on the
alliance, the GE Healthymagination Fund, an equity fund that makes
investments in highly promising healthcare technology companies, is
investing in Veran.
The alliance between the two companies reflects GE’s healthymagination
initiative, which focuses on reducing cost, increasing access and
improving quality in healthcare. Veran manufactures the ig4 navigation
system which integrates multi-modality information at the point of
patient care in the interventional suite and combines that information
with electromagnetic tracking of instruments with imbedded sensors. The
ig4 system aims to provide interventional clinicians with the best
information at the point when they need it most.
GE Healthcare is a provider of comprehensive X-ray imaging solutions
that give clinicians the tools they need to take image-based diagnosis
and minimally invasive therapy to a new level.
The strategic alliance between the two businesses combined with
expanded capabilities in product research and development will
accelerate the development of innovative high-value integrated
technologies for the diagnosis and care of patients suspected of cancer.
launches online system ePromis
The online system, ePromis, launched in September, 2011, by the
Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, has been
developed to enable the submission of the various proposals online and
also facilitate tracking of the status of the same. This online system
will also provide guidelines for submission of technical reports,
annual reports and various financial details required for releasing the
Besides providing the user friendly system for online submission of
proposal and various other documents related to ongoing projects, it
also provides information about the status of the proposal and the
status of the project. The other objectives are to enable online peer
review and processing of proposal to facilitate complete monitoring and
The key features of this system include the online registration for new
investigators, online availability of user manual, various forms,
online access to proposals for review, online proposal evaluation,
reduction in time lag and paper work at various stages of processing.
Besides that, the principal investigators of the ongoing and completed
projects will have login ID and password to track the progress on their
This kind of initiative by the DBT can be seen as a major step forward
towards the implementation and timely completion of the various
projects funded by it across the country.
Praxair expands base in Western India
Praxair India, a subsidiary of Praxair, plans to construct a new
state-of-the-art air separation plant in the rapidly growing
Pune-Mumbai industrial corridor of western India. The plant, with a
capacity of 300 tons per day, is located 60 kilometers from Mumbai, at
an industrial estate near Kalyan. It will supply liquid oxygen,
nitrogen and argon to customers in the Maharashtra and Gujarat regions,
the largest and fastest growing merchant market in India. The plant is
scheduled to begin operations in late 2012.
Aurobindo signs pact with Russian firm
Aurobindo Pharma, the largest active pharmaceutical ingredients
manufacturer under FDA-approved facility from India, through its
investment holding subsidiary and OJSC DIOD, a Russian manufacturer of
ecological healthcare equipment and nutrition supplements through its
investment holding subsidiary (Diod), announced the establishment of a
joint venture in Russia on a parity basis (50:50). The name of the
joint venture is Aurospharma Company.
It is established to manufacture and sell the pharmaceuticals in the
markets of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a part of this
cooperation, the JV intends to construct a state-of-the-art plant to
manufacture Non Penicillin and Non Cephalosporin Rx generics and other
drugs that are categorized as over-the-counter (OTC) products in Russia.
Lilly invests in social initiative
Eli Lilly has committed $30 million over five years to fight the rising
burden of non-communicable diseases in developing nations.Lilly is
launching The Lilly NCD Partnership, which combines the company’s
unique resources with the expertise of leading global health
organizations, to identify new models of patient care that increase
treatment access and improve outcomes for under served people. The
partnership will focus on diabetes and, over time, cancer, two core
business areas in which Lilly has deep expertise.
Lilly and its partners are in the final stages of developing
country-specific programs to launch in early 2012. In India, the
partnership has been done with, Find Risc Program, Public Health
Foundation of India, Project HOPE, and Population Services
International. In Brazil, Lilly has tied up with Hospital Israelita
Albert Einstein, Diagnostic & Preventive Medicine and Research
Institute. On similar lines, in Mexico, a tie-up has been done with
Carlos Slim Health Institute and in South Africa it is with Donald
Woods Foundation and Project Hope.
Chronic diseases disproportionately affect the economically
disadvantaged, with 80 percent of all NCD deaths occurring in low- and
The Lilly NCD Partnership will complement The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership,
a highly successful program launched in 2003 to help address
multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, which afflicts some of the poorest
people in the world. These programs underscore Lilly’s primary
corporate responsibility focus on improving health for people in need,
especially in low- and middle-income countries.
introduces world’s smallest FTIR spectrometer
Agilent Technologies introduced the Cary 630 Fourier transform infrared
spectrometer that offers outstanding performance and reproducibility
for routine laboratory analysis of solids, liquids and gases. In
addition, the new instrument is the smallest and lightest FTIR
spectrometer on the market, creating a significant decrease in the
instrument’s footprint in the laboratory.
Designed with customer applications in mind, innovative sampling
accessories slide in and out in seconds, with no alignment required.
Intuitive software allows even novice users to accurately analyze
samples in just seconds.
The Cary 630 FTIR removes the need to use a liquid transmission cell
through Agilent’s unique liquid sampling technology, the DialPath and
Waters introduces easy-to-use mass detector
Waters Corporation introduced the Waters® SQ Detector 2, a new
single quadrupole mass detector, at the 2011 Japan Analytical
Instruments Manufacturers Association (JAIMA) Expo.
Building on Waters’ long standing expertise in robust quadrupole mass
detection and open access technology, the SQ Detector 2 draws on
recent advancements in Waters’ performance leading mass spectrometry
systems to produce a detector, which is easier to use and compatible
with a broad range of chromatographic techniques. Integrated with
Waters’ leading chromatographic technologies, the SQ Detector 2 allows
users to take advantage of robust, reproducible data from the widest
range of experiments available to a single quadrupole mass detector.
Shimadzu launches compact UV-VIS
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments has launched the compact UV-2600 and
UV-2700 UV-VIS spectro-photometers, which feature advanced optical
systems and Shimadzu’s proprietary ‘Lo-Ray-Ligh’ diffraction gratings.
The new spectrophotometers substantially reduce stray light, enabling
confident and convenient use for routine analysis and demanding
With its double monochromator design and Lo-Ray-Ligh diffraction
gratings, the UV-2700 achieves ultra-low stray light of 0.00005 percent
T at 220 nm. The need to dilute samples has been eliminated by
expanding the photometric performance range to eight Abs, with a
transmittance value of 0.000001 percent. This range is set to deliver
indutry’s highest absorbance level and ultra-low stray light.
Thermo Fisher acquires Intrinsic Bioprobes
Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, has
acquired Intrinsic Bioprobes, a manufacturer of unique
immuno-enrichment, sample-preparation tools that are used in
quantitative mass spectrometry, and enhanced its workflow for biomarker
research and diagnostics.
The Intrinsic Bioprobes portfolio enables Thermo Fisher to offer its
worldwide life science research and clinical diagnostics customers an
enhanced solution for quantitative protein biomarker detection.
The Intrinsic Bioprobes portfolio includes its novel mass spectrometric
immunoassay featuring a patented sample preparation technique.
This technology allows enrichment of low-abundance proteins in
Millipore India awards
Merck Millipore has launched the Merck Millipore India Innovation
Awards to acknowledge the efforts of scientists for innovative research
outside commercial research centers. The announcement was made in New
Delhi on September 26.
The program, said to be the first-of-its-kind, will recognize exemplary
research done by scientists from government-funded and not-for-profit
public institutes in the field of life sciences. The three winners will
receive certificates of merit and cash rewards of `3 million, `2
million and `1 million, respectively.
Dr Marek Dziki, managing director, Merck India, said, “We hope to
provide Indian scientists with the necessary resources and recognition
to fulfill their research aspirations and enable them to excel.’’
Mr Prantik Mukherjee, head of Merck Millipore in India, said, “The
awards program is an apt reflection of our global vision to unleash the
potential of science for life.’’
Dr Theodor Dingermann, director of the Institute of Pharmaceutical
Biology at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, and a member of
MMIIA’s scientific advisory board said, “The scientific community in
India is amongst the best but often does not have access to world-class
resources and facilities like its global counterparts.’’
The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2012. The winners are
expected to be announced at a scientific symposium in mid-2012.
pharma market promising: Report
The pharmaceutical market in India will be the next significant market
by 2020, says OPPI & Ernst & Young’s latest report. The market
presents vast opportunities for pharma companies, with successful
companies overcoming challenges in the areas of pricing and access to
new products and markets, says the report “India emerging: Pharma’s
evolving business models”.
By 2015, four of the emerging markets are expected to rank among the
top 10 global pharma markets, with China and India emerging as the
largest gainers. The study has identified India as the preferred choice
for outsourcing in the area of late stage drug discovery, shared
services and complex manufacturing, while China has been identified as
the preferred market for building blocks and intermediates.
With an increase in M&A and partnerships, the contribution of
emerging markets to the growth of global pharma market has increased
five-fold, from eight percent in 2003 to 40 percent in 2010. Further,
China and India have emerged as the top two destinations for
Mr Ajit Mahadevan, Partner-Life Sciences Practice at Ernst & Young
says, “Global MNCs that have entered India have developed a deep
understanding of their target customers. They have broadened the range
of their products, adopted unconventional partnership models to
increase access and tested new pricing and marketing approaches.”
DCGI likely in November
With the three month extension given by the Madras High Court to the
Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr Surinder Singh set to end
soon, the Government of India is looking for a suitable replacement.
The court had permitted Dr Singh to continue as the DCGI only upto
October 31, 2011. Therefore, the new DCGI is expected to take over the
Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) by November this
The health ministry, which controls the CDSCO, recently issued an
advertisement regarding the recruitment of a new Drug Controller
General of India (DCGI) within three months. Earlier, the govt had on
June 8, 2011, extended the appointment of Dr Surinder Singh as the DCGI
until March 31, 2012. His tenure was to end on June 21 this year.
A public interest litigation against his appointment and extension of
tenure led to a government order that the period of deputation of a
government servant should not exceed beyond five years. Since Dr Singh
had already completed five years on deputation, the court took note of
the PIL and stayed Dr Singh’s continuation in office.
His deputation was extended by three more months again after Additional
Solicitor General of India Mr Mohan Parasaran assured the court that
the government would speed up the process of recruiting a new DCGI.