• 9 January 2009
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Cryo-Save Group launches operations in India

Cryo-Save Group  announced the launch of its India operations through its 100 percent subsidiary, Cryo-Save India. The Indian subsidiary has been set up with an investment of €1.8 million. Cryo-Save Group will scale up its investment to €2 million within a year of its operation of the Indian subsidiary. Cryo-Save India is believed to be the only company that does automatic processing to avoid manual intervention and contamination. The company will be offering the collection and storage of ADULT stem cells derived from cord blood. The services will be available across all metros and other cities.
Speaking on the occasion V R Chandramouli, managing director, Cryo-Save India, said, “We are very happy to launch the Indian subsidiary and offer our expertise in adult stem cell banking services in India. A world class stem cell banking service was the need of the hour for a huge market like India and Cryo-Save India will be offering this. We are very keen to extend our footprint to India and we are very excited about the immense market potential for adult stem cell banking or family banking in India. Cryo-Save India will bring in our global expertise, best practices and our vast experience to the Indian customer.”
“We see a huge potential in the stem cell banking business in India and we have set up the best-in-class facility with an investment of nearly €1.8 million to cater to this huge need which is set to grow manifold,” he further added.
 Cryo-Save India is headquartered in Bangalore with a state-of-the art, one-of-its-kind, fully automated adult stem cell storage facility. The facility at Bangalore covers 10,000 sq ft with a storage capacity of 150,000 samples, extendable to 300,000 immediately.  

Bangalore declared as the “Nanocity of India” at the 2nd Bangalore Nano Event

Bangalore gets another name, the ‘Nanocity of India’, this was announced during the 2nd annual Bangalore Nano event in the union on December 12-13, 2008. The event was inaugurated by Vice President  of India, Hamid Ansari.
 On the occasion, Government of Karnataka promised to take every possible measure to encourage the R&D of nanoscience and nanotechnology, create opportunities for the commercialization of Nanoscience and facilitate development of small, medium and large scale industry committed to nanotechnology. In addition to budgetary support, Karnataka Government has allotted 14 acres of government land for setting up India’s first premier ‘Nano-institute’ – Institute of Nano Science and Technology – in Bangalore.  This Centre would be set up under the guidance of JNCASR, with a Rs 100 crore grant by Government of India from the budgetary provision of Rs 1,000 crore ($250 million) for Nano Science and Technology initiative. Further, Karnataka Government is also planning to develop a Nano Park and Incubation Center.

PM gives Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh gave away the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards for the Year 2007 and 2008 at a function in New Delhi on December 20. The winners in the Life Sciences categories are as follows.
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for the year 2007
Biological Sciences:
Dr Narayanaswamy Srinivasan of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore who has made outstanding contributions in the area of computational genomics, protein structure analysis, modeling and computational studies on proteins that are involved in cellular signal transduction pathways.  His studies at the whole genome level have helped to identify remotely similar proteins sharing structural and functional features.
Dr Upinder Singh Bhalla of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (TIFR), Bangalore who  has made outstanding contributions in computational and experimental approaches to understand  neuronal and synaptic signaling in memory and in coding of olfactory information.
Medical Sciences:
Dr Pundi Narasimhan Rangarajan of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for his outstanding contributions towards understanding gene expression changes induced by neurotropic viruses as well as DNA vaccine development.
The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for the year 2008
Biological Sciences:
Dr Gajendra Pal Singh Raghava of the Institute of Micobial Technology (CSIR), Chandigarh contributed significantly in the field of bioinformatics, particularly in the searching of potential drug and vaccine targets.
Dr L S Shashidhara of the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CSIR), Hyderabad has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of appendage development in animals. His studies on the underlying molecular pathways have important implications in deciphering growth control and cancer.
Dr Ravinder Goswami of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.  Dr Ravinder Goswami is recognized for his significant contributions in the field of clinical endocrinology with particular reference to hypocalcaemic disorders. His research work has documented the prevalence, significance and causes of vitamin D deficiency in apparently healthy individuals for the first time in India.

O2h wins ERBI award

ERBI’s Innovation in Enabling Bio-Technology Award 2008 was presented to Oxygen Healthcare Ltd (O2h) at the ERBI Winter Ball held at Duxford’s Imperial War Museum.  This award recognizes the role O2h has played in developing technologies that facilitate drug discovery and development.
“To receive recognition for innovation from an organization that hosts the largest bio-cluster in Europe makes us extremely proud” said Sunil Shah, CEO and head of business development who accepted this award from Lady Archer. “O2h was incorporated in 2003 and we have grown the company organically as owner-entrepreneurs from business plan.” he added.
O2h, founded by brothers Prashant and Sunil Shah, is a four-year old, discovery services company.  Its 90 employees work from a client project office in Cambridge, UK and its operations in Ahmedabad India. The services offered by the company include FTE-based synthetic chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Full services lab-units and ADME.
Commenting on the award, Prashant Shah, co-founder and COO of Oxygen Healthcare said, “I am delighted that O2h has won this award, it is a recognition that drug discovery has become truly global and of the hard work the team has put into ensuring fast results for our collaborations.”

Govt plans new legislation on medical devices

The government is working on a legislation to regulate the quality of medical equipment being marketed in the country, Kapil Sibal, minister for science and technology and earth sciences said.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the fifth India Health Summit on the theme “Optimizing Healthcare Delivery in India: A Patient Centric Approach”,  Sibal said the new regulation will help standardization of the quality of medical devices manufactured in India.
“Most of the medical equipments in India are imported and the medical devices industry in India has not grown much. The government of India is working on medical devices legislation, in order to standardize the quality of Indian manufactured medical devices,” he said.
Sibal identified four key areas—R&D in the field of technology and genomics focussed on target drugging, vaccinations and innovative solutions,  manufacturing and managing medical devices domestically, delivery of quality human resource and affordability—as the major challenges before healthcare sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Prathap C Reddy, chairman, CII National Committee on healthcare and chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group said, “The task before us is how do we rapidly fill the huge deficit for quality healthcare, which is inaccessible to many. We should look at innovative healthcare models, work on standard definition and working environment for PPP.”

Prof. Dipankar Chakravorty conferred with the 2nd Bangalore Nano Award

During the 2nd Bangalore Nano, M. Hamid Ansari, H.E. Vice President of India, presented the 2nd Bangalore Nano National Award to Prof. Dipankar Chakravorty, recognizing his awe-inspiring achievements in the field of Nanotechnology.

FAI’s award to Multiplex Biotech 

Fertilizer Association of India (FAI), New Delhi, the supreme body of fertilizer manufacturers, has presented an award for the best performance in “Production, Promotion and Marketing of Bio Fertilizer” to Multiplex Biotech Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. Dr GP Shetty, CMD of Multiplex Biotech has received the award from the secretary, Ministry of Fertilizers, New Delhi.  Dr GP Shetty was also conferred with “Karnataka State Rajyotsava Award” for his outstanding contribution to the agriculture by the chief minister of Karnataka.

Lucknow biotech park inaugurated 

Lucknow Biotech Park was recently inaugurated by the Union Minister for Science and Technology, Kapil Sibbal.  The park buildings were completed in 2006. Sixteen companies are today operating in the park out of which five are from abroad. The park is both an incubator and model.

Tata Chemicals invests $16.7 mn in biodiesel

Tata Chemicals’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Tata Chemicals Asia Pacific will invest $16.7 million in Singapore-based jatropha seedling company, JOil.
 Tata Chemicals will get exclusive marketing rights for JOil’s jatropha seedlings in India and East Africa and a preferential price for seedlings it requires for its own cultivation of jatropha.
 “Jatropha has been identified as an ideal starting material for biodiesel production for countries like India, because it can be grown on wasteland. However, the non-availability of good quality planting material has resulted in highly variable yields from the cultivation carried out so far,” said Homi Khusrokhan, managing director, Tata Chemicals.
 “Through this JV we would like to access some of the excellent work done by Temasek Life Sciences on this plant and make the superior varieties of Jatropha available to those interested in its cultivation. It also holds great promise for our own bio-fuels program,” he said.
 JOil has been set up by the Temasek Life Sciences, along with other investors in Singapore. The company will set up tissue culture labs in various locations, and market jatropha seedlings produced by using the micro-propagation technology developed by Temasek.
  “We are very pleased to be partners with Tata Chemicals in this venture and are confident that this partnership will create sustainable and competitive technological solutions for the biofuel industry,” said Peter Chia, COO, Temasek.

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