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Conference on ‘Drug Discovery and Development: Global Scenario — Indian Prospective’ held at NIPER

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(L-R) Dr Ahmed Kamal, Project Director, NIPER-Hyderabad, Dr AV Rama Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, AVRA Laboratories, Dr VK Subburaj, IAS, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers; Government of India and Dr S Chandrasekhar, Director, IICT

Discussions were held on how innovations in modern era enabled the discovery of new drugs with better efficacy and safety profile

A conference on ‘Drug Discovery and Development: Global Scenario —Indian Prospective’ was recently held at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) Hyderabad. Dr Ahmed Kamal, Project Director, NIPER-Hyderabad delivered the opening remarks. Kamal discussed the importance of drug discovery to the mankind in treating several complex diseases. In his speech, he focused on how innovations in modern era enabled the discovery of new drugs with better efficacy and safety profile and the challenges faced by the researchers involved in the discovery process today.

Kamal gave a brief note on initiations by the Department of Pharmaceuticals to forge several collaborations recently between NIPER and several pharma industries to promote industry-academia linkages and strengthen drug discovery and development efforts. He also mentioned that as part of this process, a number of MoUs were recently exchanged in the presence of Pranab Mukherjee, President, India. Kamal also added a note on the progress made by NIPER-Hyderabad in the last few years and assured that it will take a leap further to meet the future demands of the pharmaceutical Industry.

Dr S Chandrasekhar, Director, IICT briefed about the drug discovery research happening at IICT. He motivated the students by saying young minds (students) should become entrepreneurs creating opportunities rather than looking for opportunities and take forward their research.

Dr VK Subburaj, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Government of India, mentioned that there is a need to produce quality medicine at affordable cost and to increase the quality of life. He also indicated that it is high time that the academic institutes start research work especially in drug discovery aspects individually or in collaboration with industries.

The key note address was given by Dr AV Rama Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, AVRA Laboratories. He started with initial era of drug discovery and development how it began from extraction of actives from natural sources and discussed how drug discovery has progressed over the years with examples. Later, he also mentioned the Indian scenario in drug discovery.

A scientific programme was held which included plenary lectures, oral presentations and poster presentation sessions specially covering the topics on advances in disease biology: newer approaches; natural products as leads in drug discovery; rational drug design/ fragment based libraries; development of new synthetic strategies; drug delivery advances: nano technologies/ formulations; preclinical drug development; translational research (preclinical to clinical); new therapeutics: antibody-drug conjugates.

The scientific lectures were delivered in three sessions. The first session by Dr Ramesh Panchagnula, Vice President & Head: Nektar Therapeutics (India), Hyderabad gave an overview of drug development process in the industry with relevant case studies.

The second lecture was by Prof Javed Iqbal, who delivered talks about targets in diabetes mellitus and other metabolic disorders. Dr Ian Cliffe, Vice President and Head: Research Management, Daiichi Sankyo India Pharma, discussed about identification of chemical leads in pharma industry and described the story behind the successful approval of a novel structural compound using virtual library screening approach against obesity.

Post lunch session started with the lecture of Dr Mukul R Jain, Senior Vice President- Pharmacology, Zydus Research Centre, Ahmedabad followed by Dr AKS Bhujanga Rao President: Natco Research Centre, Hyderabad and Dr Murali Ramachandra, Senior Vice President, Aurigene Discovery Technologies, Bangalore. The last session ended up with lectures from Prof Pratipal Singh, Professor in Pharmacology: NIPER SAS Nagar and Dr Brian W Dymock, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

EP News BureauMumbai

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