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Industry-academia ties to augur well with long-term cooperation for drug discovery & novel delivery devices

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Thursday, April 28, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

India needs to catch up in the area of academic and industry partnership in pharmaceuticals and healthcare. There is need to create an innovation stream for research and development to build a culture of innovation. The industry sees that only a long-term cooperation would enable the commercialization of R&D for drug discovery and novel delivery devices.

According to Dr B Suresh, pro-chancellor, JSS Academy for Higher Education and Research, Mysuru, when industry looks at academia for research it is recognition of the students and faculty’s scientific acumen. In fact, this is where the future of research lies for India. Whatever development we see across the world, particularly in pharma and technology is because the academia works closely with the industry.

Recently, JSS AHER hosted Blaze which is a pitching platform for its faculty and students to showcase their proof of concept and product ideas to a pharma industry jury. The event saw a participation of 11 researchers from JSS working to commercialize their findings.

The jury comprised Sunil Attavar, CMD, Group Pharmaceutical, Dr Hrishikesh Damle. MD & CEO Atrimed Pharmaceuticals and Sreenivas H, CEO, Venkat Pharma. The event had several presentations, and the industry was also looking at promising research prospects that could be commercialised.

Commenting on the need for research in novel molecules which is found wanting in the pharma industry, Dr Damle told Pharmabiz, “India requires to do a lot more in this area compared to what is already happening globally where industry and academia work seamlessly in priority areas with major patents coming in.”

The only time when we saw extensive collaboration among pharma, government and the academia was during the Covid pandemic phase when medical colleges supported the industry for clinical trials for vaccines. This helped the companies to have access to data on the safety and efficacy. Barring this research upscale to industry for commercialization is inadequate, he added.

According to Attavar, the Blaze initiative of JSS AHER is a true reflection of an academia-industry collaboration. It is a great opportunity for the start-ups to present their innovations to the industry. We have signed an MoU for a dental gel to take the R&D forward.

Research must not merely remain within the Universities but needs to be taken to the community at large. This is where the industry participation is key to help in the innovation by contribution of milestones and also royalty for the researchers on successful commercialization of the project, pointed out Attavar.

Noting that despite the encouragement towards the nurturing research projects, scope for publications on the findings, patent filing and consultancy with the JSS AHER, Dr Suresh said that there was modest success as some projects have reached commercialization stage. One is a UV sanitiser for dental purposes and the other is a dismantable ICU which could be packed in boxes and taken to locations where Covid admissions increased. “The government of India evinced considerable interest for this, but as hospital admissions for Covid waned, we are now looking at other applications. JSS AHER is at Level 8 on the technology index,” he said.


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