The roundtable explored opportunities in life sciences that India and Scotland can leverage to complement each other
Ahmedabad recently played host to a executive round table on ‘Innovation & International Competitiveness’ with a focus on pharmaceuticals, clinical research, and medical devices/ technologies. Presented by Express Pharma with Scottish Development International (SDI) as the Knowledge Partner and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) as the Industry Partner, the panel discussion on ‘Innovation and International Competitiveness’ struck at the heart of the myriad challenges facing Indian companies as they strive to expand their geographical footprint.
Welcoming the attendees on behalf of SDI, Cherise Mascarenhas, Business Development Manager, SDI give a quick comprehensive overview of SDI’s role in facilitating investments into and out of Scotland.
Setting the scene for the panel discussion, the moderator of the Executive Round Table, Viveka Roychowdhury, Editor, Express Pharma mentioned SDI’s role in helping India-headquartered corporates like the Piramal Healthcare to set up substantial manufacturing operations in Scotland.
Kicking off the panel discussion, Roychowdhury asked Param Shah, Head, FICCI’s Gujarat State Council about his organisation’s role in helping member companies find the right fit in terms of a global partner. He expanded on FICCI’s vision document for the lifesciences sector and initiatives like the Millennium Alliance.
A very interesting perspective was shared by Viranchi Shah, Vice Chairman, Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA),Gujarat State Board who as Director at Ahmedabad-based SAGA Laboratories, has had first hand experience of trying to find the right overseas partner. He stressed on the importance of understanding the local nuances of the each country for which the right local partnership is crucial.
Giving the perspective of a large Indian pharma company, which already has collaborative partnerships, Dr Manjul Joshipura, Vice President Medical Services at Cadila Pharmaceuticals mentioned that their experience is that start ups spun out from academia make for very good collaborations as they do good work without having huge budget outlays. He opined that in pharma R&D, the R (research) could be done abroad while the D (development) can be done in India.
As a global CRO, Dr Kiran Marthak, Vice President, Member of Board of Directors and Global Head – Clinical Development, Lambda Therapeutic Research spoke about how his company has found expanded through clinical sites/ CROs in promising geographies and looks forward to exploring the same in Scotland.
Sharon McKendry, International sector head for life and chemical sciences, SDI explained how Scotland’s leadership position in life sciences went much beyond the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep. Her presentation touched on Scotland’s history of drug discovery excellence and Scottish scientists, mentioning highlights like the discovery of the world’s first vaccine against viral Hepatitis B, the Nobel prize winning discovery of beta blockers as well as other blockbusters like Atracurium (the world’s best-selling muscle relaxant), Salbutamol ( the world’s best-selling asthma treatment) and Zantac (for peptic ulcers). Scotland’s USP is the infrastructure to support early lead identification and validation, which saves pharma companies both time and money.
Her presentation sparked numerous queries from the audience, seeking details on the process of technology transfer and commercialisation support being offered by SDI to pharma and medical devices companies looking to set up a base in Scotland. The evening ended with a networking dinner.