A boost to drug research.

Indian Pharma companies are entering into collaborations with foreign drug discovery companies so as to be able to benefit from the sharing of technology, knowledge and cost benefits. This will prove to be a huge boost to the Indian research scene which so far is in a nascent stage.

Zydus Cadila is the most recent entrant into this synergetic process – working in sync with Swedish firm Kara Bio working on leads on inflammatory diseases.

Advinus, which is developing drugs with multinational drug major Merck, alsohas a discovery programme with the Swiss-based Drugs for Neglected Diseasesinitiative (DNDi), a non-profit R&D organisation, to devise novel therapies for visceral leishmaniasis or kala azar, an India specific disease.³Collaborations bring in synergy and global scale in research efforts.

The investments can be fructified by developing a global blockbuster drug, which will be a huge business opportunity for both the parties,² said VenkatJasti, vice-chairman and managing director of Suven Life Sciences, theHyderabad-based drug discovery company.

The impact of such partnerships is hard to guage considering that the gestation period for the development of a drug can be 10-15 years. However the fact that research is being promoted by such a collaboration is an encouraging sign.

This trend is a sign of the Indian drug discovery segment gaining maturity, said Jasti, citing most of the block buster drugs available inthe world were developed through collaborations.

I suppose the problem with these collaborations will be that the price will reflect the cost of such teamwork. That some of these pharma companies are teaming up to work on health care issues specific to India like kala azar is great because it seems to show a bent of mind aiming towards communities which won’t really turn the resultant medication into a blockbuster drug (kala azar is a disease which afflicts the poorest in East India and is a by product of poverty, poor hygiene and poor nutrition levels).

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