Express Pharma

Pfizer sets up global drug development centre in India

Centre to develop small molecules, innovative formulations and APIs for global markets

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In a bid to bring critical Research and Development (R&D) capabilities under one roof, Pfizer has set up a global drug development centre at the IIT Madras Research Park in Chennai, India. The centre’s capabilities will include the development of both, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and Finished Dosage Forms (FDFs) of differentiated products such as complex/value-added formulations, controlled-release dosage forms, device-combination products, lyophilised injections, powder-fill products, and ready-to-use formulations. The centre will develop and support products in global markets and Pfizer’s manufacturing centres worldwide.

“Pfizer’s drug development centre in the IIT Madras Research Park is a positive opportunity to establish truly one of the most advanced laboratories that Pfizer is setting up for R&D in the aforementioned disciplines anywhere in the world, in Chennai, and an opportunity to showcase the potential of R&D in the country. We are confident that it will allow for synergistic co-development of cutting-edge API and FDF processes under the same roof. The world-class scientific, technology and innovation-driven research park campus provides an ideal setting for our work. We are hopeful that the proximity to IIT Madras and other technology research park start-ups will also improve academia and industry partnerships and encourage greater collaboration to drive innovation,” said S Sridhar, Country Manager, Pfizer India, in the statement.

Pfizer has invested $20 million (Rs 150+ crore) in the 61,000 sq ft research and technology centre at the IIT Madras Research Park. While this centre will be a part of a network of 12 global centres set up worldwide, it is the first and only one at present being set up by Pfizer in Asia, the statement noted.

Speaking at the launch, S Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharma, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, also said in the statement, “There is a growing need for pharma companies to provide innovative solutions that address the new challenges that healthcare providers and patients are facing. This new centre by Pfizer in Chennai is a step in that direction. Such efforts to strengthen and expand global work through this centre will allow for knowledge sharing that we hope will improve patient outcomes in the years to come. It will also allow Pfizer to leverage and showcase the large talent pool in India as well as the best-in-class infrastructure available at the IIT Madras Research Park. We are confident that this research centre would be aligned with our larger national objective to improve the availability, affordability and access to drugs throughout the world from India by building on the convergence with digital solutions available here, and leveraging academic collaborations.”

The centre integrates two essential functions under the export-oriented undertaking of Pfizer: Pharma Sciences (PharmSci) and Global Technology and Engineering (GT&E) Center of Excellence. PharmSci is dedicated to the development of anti-infectives, oncolytics, sterile injectables, anaesthesia products, CNS products, and uniquely differentiated hospital products. GT&E pioneers next-generation API process and manufacturing technology to supply medicines to patients around the globe.

“We are pleased to welcome the Pfizer global drug development centre to IIT Madras Research Park. We believe that the proximity of Pfizer to IITM, scientists and students, the tech corridor, and other leading industry start-ups will foster greater collaboration between industry and academia. We are also sure that the academicians at IITM will benefit from having access to Pfizer’s centre,” said Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, President, IITM Research Park, in the statement.

This 61,000 sq ft facility employs more than 250 scientists and professionals from a range of scientific disciplines including formulation scientists and pharmacists, analytical scientists with expertise in process, analytical and formulation medicinal sciences, lifescience specialists such as microbiologists and biotechnologists, chemical engineers, data scientists and programme managers.

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