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NEW DELHI : Pfizer Inc. on Wednesday opened a global research centre in Chennai, which will develop and support drugs for the drugmaker’s manufacturing centres worldwide. The facility, located at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras Research Park, is Pfizer’s first such centre in Asia and will employ more than 250 scientists and technicians from different specialities.

The Chennai centre will develop active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), finished dosage forms (FDFs) such as complex/value-added formulations, controlled-release dosage forms, device-combination products, lyophilized injections, powder-fill products, and ready-to-use formulations, Pfizer said. The 61,000 sq. ft centre, built at $20 million, will be part of a network of 12 Pfizer global centres.

“We are confident that Pfizer’s drug development centre in the IIT Madras Research Park 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," said S. Sridhar, country manager, Pfizer India.

The centre will initially focus on generic products and, later, on oncology, immunology, and internal medicine, Sridhar said.

The centre integrates two essential functions under the export-oriented undertaking of Pfizer: pharma sciences (PharmSci) and global technology and engineering (GT&E) centre of excellence. PharmSci is dedicated to developing anti-infectives, oncolytics, sterile injectables, anaesthesia and hospital products, while GT&E pioneers next-generation API process and manufacturing technology to supply medicines to patients around the globe.

“There is a growing need for pharma firms to provide innovative solutions that can address the new challenges that healthcare providers and patients are facing. This new centre by Pfizer 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," S. Aparna, secretary in the department of pharmaceuticals, said at the event.

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, president, IIT Madras Research Park, said academics at the institute will benefit from having access to Pfizer’s new centre.

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