The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the apex regulatory
body for biotechnology-related products in India, has approved Monsanto
India's request to conduct seed production research trials for
transgenic corn lines. The trials - Hishell and 900M Gold (Events MON
89034 x NK 603) - will be held at Kurnool and West Godavari in Andhra
Pradesh, at the company's leased land.
The committee noted that the purpose of the trials is to evaluate seed
production of transgenic corn lines event MON 89034 and event NK 603;
under confined open field conditions, involving taking note of pollen
dehiscence and flowering behavior, that would help in working out the
staggering requirements for the stack hybrid development.
Also, the study may help in understanding the flowering time pattern of
the transgenic corn lines with event MON 89034 and event NK 603, under
confined field conditions. Total required area for each location will
be 0.98 acres for two plantings.
Approval for GM cotton export
In its 104th meeting, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee
(GEAC) has noted that the export of genetically modified (GM) cotton
does not require its approval. The regulatory body that met on November
15, 2010 in the Ministry of Environment and Forests discussed the
subject, and concluded that GEAC does not have any role in exports.
The Committee noted that GEAC has been receiving a number of requests
for export of approved Bt cotton events to Pakistan. The intended
purpose of export is for research/field testing. The need for obtaining
such approvals was discussed, wherein the Committee opined that
approval from GEAC is not necessary, as it is the responsibility of the
importing country to take such decisions.
Therefore, export of Bt cotton seeds can be allowed, subject to the
exporter obtaining approval of the competent authority of the importing
country; and approval from National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai, as
per the provisions of Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
In view of the above stated facts, exporters are not required to obtain
approval of GEAC prior to export of Bt cotton seeds, expressing
approved events. However, information on export may be submitted to
GEAC for records.
India gears up to counter swine flu
According to Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the
government has granted license to six pharmaceutical companies for
manufacturing two drugs for swine flu treatment. Besides that, three
other companies have already been permitted to manufacture vaccines for
The Minister of Health, Ghulam Nabi Azad recently made this
announcement in the Parliament, stating that the drug Oseltamivir and
its formulation for treatment of H1N1 (swine flu) is being manufactured
by Cipla, Hetero Drugs, Natco Pharma, Ranbaxy Labs, Strides Arcolab and
Cadila Pharma. Another drug for the purpose, Zanamivir, is being
manufactured by Cipla.
Also, for prevention of H1N1 (swine flu), licenses to manufacture
influenza (H1N1) vaccine have been granted to Serum Institute of India,
Cadila Healthcare and Bharat Biotech. Besides that, there is the
much-awaited Pandyflu vaccine from Panacea Biotec, to be launched any
Licenses for manufacture and sale of medicines in the country are
granted by the State Licensing Authorities appointed by State
governments, under the provisions of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act,
RIBN to enhance Russia, India ties
In a bid to encourage
joint biotechnology initiatives between Russia and India, an agreement
on Russia-India Biotech Network (RIBN) was signed and exchanged in the
presence of the then chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, K Rosiah, by
Prof Raif Vasilov, president, Russian Biotechnology Society & CEO,
Russian Bio-industry Association; and Dr BS Bajaj, convener, BioAsia
2011 and secretary, Federation of Asian Biotech Associations (FABA).
RIBN will be a dedicated online platform to effectively facilitate
collaboration between the Russian and Indian biotech communities.
“RIBN will act as a dynamic platform to bring together Russian and
Indian biotechnology communities - both business and science. Later,
other countries could join this platform, making it the first global
professional networking system. The first phase of the platform is
functional from October 2010, and it would become fully-operational
during BioAsia 2011 in February 2011,” said Prof Raif Vasilov.
The interested Russian companies will be able to browse through the
profile of their Indian counterparts, and interact with them to
understand their activities in detail and vice versa.
“RIBN will facilitate business partnering throughout the year, in
addition to offering business support services like databases, online
seminars, placements, exchange programs, facility visits, trade
delegations,” said Dr BS Bajaj.Jubilant clocks 988 crore in Q2 FY2011
Jubilant Life Sciences, formerly Jubilant Organosys, an integrated
pharmaceutical company, and the largest custom research and
manufacturing services (CRAMS) company in India, announced financial
results for Q2 FY2011. In the second quarter of FY2011, consolidated
revenues for the company was 988 crore, registering a growth of six percent;
with international business contributing 62 percent to the top line.
Revenue from pharmaceutical and life science products and services
(PLSPS) was estimated at 850 crore; contributing 86 percent to the total
revenues of the company, mainly driven by 11 percent growth in active
pharmaceutical ingredient (API) business and 50 percent growth in
dosage forms. The life science products with revenues at 657 crore contributed 67 percent and the
remaining 193 crore was from life sciences services.
The products business saw a good volume growth of 13 percent; and
revenues visibility in the services business is encouraging though
volatility persists due to slow regulatory approvals of the customers.
Agri and performance polymers (APP) business witnessed a very strong
growth of 29 percent in sales at 138 crore. This segment contributed 14 percent
of total company's consolidated revenue.
Growth was mainly driven by robust sales in agri-products, which was up
98 percent to 69 crore.
In Q2 FY2011, EBITDA was 164 crore, as compared to 192 crore during the same quarter last year,
with margins at 16.6 percent. EBITDA margins in PLSPS segment were at
19.4 percent and at 12.6 percent in APP segment. Net profit showed
growth of 42 percent at 82 crore as against 58 crore in the same quarter last year.
Panacea Biotec reports 52% growth
Panacea Biotec, a leading vaccine manufacturer in India, has announced
a growth of 52 percent in net turnover, at about 252.60 crore during the quarter ended September
30, 2010, as compared to about 165.80 crore for the corresponding period of
previous financial year.
The company noted that pharmaceutical formulations export grew by 285
percent; whereas domestic pharmaceutical formulations grew by 18
percent in this quarter. The company registered formulations segment
net turnover of about 83.60 crore, as compared to about 61.10 crore, during the corresponding period of
previous financial year, registering a growth of 37 percent.
The vaccines export grew by 68 percent. The company further said it has
registered vaccine segment net turnover of about 169 crore, as compared to about 104.70 crore, during the corresponding period of
previous financial year, registering a growth of 61 percent. The
company reported substantial growth of 842 percent in its
profit-before-tax (PBT); at about 28.60 crore, as compared to about 3 crore, during the corresponding period of
previous financial year. The company reported significant growth of 692
percent in its profit-after-tax (PAT) at about 17 crore, as compared to about 2.1 crore, during the corresponding period of
Uniform code for pharma marketing
Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Srikant Kumar
Jena on November 25, 2010 announced that Department of Pharmaceuticals
(DoP) is currently examining the possibility of framing a Uniform Code
of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices, which would be adopted
This comes after recent reports in the media claimed unethical
marketing practices of certain pharma companies. Keeping in view
seriousness of the allegations made in the media reports, the DoP felt
the need to take up the matter in the interest of consumers, as such
promotional expenses extended to doctors had direct implications on the
pricing of drugs and its affordability.
After discussing the issues with pharmaceutical associations and
industry, the department has been able to persuade most of the
associations to have a code of ethics. Organization of Pharmaceutical
Producers of India and Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association have
informed that, they along with Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical
Industry, Federation of Pharma Entrepreneurs, Indian Pharmaceutical
Alliance and SME Pharma Industries Confederation have worked out the
'Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices'.
Bioeconomy workshop stresses on
The bioeconomy concept involves a systematic approach to exploit
information on biological systems for a sustainable production of
renewable raw materials, for use in different economic sectors. Keeping
that in view, a two-day workshop on bioeconomy was organized jointly by
Government of India's Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and
Germany-based Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC) on November 23-24,
2010, in New Delhi.
This Indo-German partnering workshop aimed at introducing Indian
partners from academia, industry and stakeholder groups; to the
bioeconomy concept, and its realization by the BioSC, to gain valuable
insights into the Indian version towards this topic, and to match
interests, in order to pave the way for strategic Indo-German
partnerships in bioeconomy. Collaborative R&D and future roadmap
was the key topic of discussion at the event.
The workshop saw a number of speakers delivering talks on the different
aspects of bioeconomy.