Five new state-run pharmaceutical research and education centres will start functioning before end-2008, at a cost of Rs1,000 crore. The centres will focus mainly on developing new drugs for malaria and tuberculosis, providing training for the industry, and also on herbal medicine.
The institutes—modelled on the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Niper) at Mohali in Punjab—are being set up at Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Guwahati and Hajipur (in Bihar), each with Rs200 crore funding from the Centre and a contribution of 100 acres of land from the respective state administrations.
Niper, set up in 1994, focuses on drug research in malaria, tuberculosis and diabetes, besides running a Master’s programme each in pharmacy and business administration focused on the pharma industry. It collaborates on research with leading drug makers such as Ranbaxy Laboratories.
The institute at Hyderabad—likely to be named the Indian Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology—is expected to be operational by July 2007. The institute at Hajipur, which is the constituency of chemicals and fertilizers minister Ram Vilas Paswan, will come up this year.
“Work on at least three institutes will begin this year, Hyderabad is one among them,” said R.C. Jha, deputy secretary, department of chemicals and petrochemicals. “Each institute will focus on the core strengths of the region,” he added.
While the institutes in Hyderabad and Ahmedabad will focus on drug discovery research, the one in Guwahati will focus on natural and herbal medicines. The Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, a medical college in Hyderabad, has firmed up plans to set up a clinical research facility at the new institute in the city.
Research areas for the centres in Kolkata and Hajipur are yet to be identified. There are only two pharmacy colleges in the entire Northeast and just four in Bihar.
A source said the Hyderabad institute had received international interest. “The University of Houston, US and The Strathclyde Institute of Drug Research in Glasgow, Scotland, have expressed interest to collaborate with the upcoming institute at Hyderabad,” S.S. Vara Prasad, a senior advisor to trade body Bulk Drugs Manufacturers Association and a member of the committee set up by the ministry on the institutes, told Mint.