CDRI symposium discusses past, present & future of drug development in India

The event hosted by Central Drug Research Institute witnessed brainstorming lectures by the stalwarts of drug discovery in India

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New Delhi: The CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow recently  organized a unique symposium to discuss the Past, Present and Future of Drug Development in India.

Director, CSIR-CDRI, Prof Tapas Kumar Kundu conceived this idea and invited all the previous directors including Padma Shri Dr Nitya Anand, Dr V.P. Kamboj, Dr C.M Gupta, Dr Tushar Kanti Chakraborty and Dr Madhu Dikshit on a stage together to do the retrospection about drug discovery and development and share their futuristic vision for it. 

Living with drug research has been a most exciting and satisfying life: Dr Nitya Anand

While sharing is perspectives towards this, Padma Shri Dr Nitya Aanad said, living with drug research has been a most exciting and satisfying life, it provided an opportunity to contribute to the mankind. And more importantly it has helped to evolve a very positive outlook on health & disease, that disease is preventable, controllable and curable & not fated to be with us. And I still live with it. He shared his experiences from the inception of this institute to till date. How this institute helped in development of Pharma sector in India after independence and Research on National Development Programmes, Basic research in cognate area and Applied Research/Process Development.

India is called the dispensary of world: Dr V P Kamboj

Dr Kamboj shared his outlook towards the drug development in India and contribution of CSIR-CDRI in this context. He mentioned India is called the dispensary of world, every third person in the world using vaccine made by India. Average age of Indian was 32 years in 1975 which is now 62 years. So India has done a lot in health care sector. Many infectious diseases have eradicated from India. Some other infectious disease eradication targets in India are Leishmaniasis (kala azar) by 2018 end, Filariasis (lymphatic) 2018 end, Measles by 2020 & Tuberculosis by 2025.Year 2017 heralds the beginning of Cell &Gene Therapy so CDRI must prepare to compete with the world.

Upgradation of skills in molecular and computational sciences, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology is the need of today: Dr C M Gupta

Dr Gupta and discussed the pace of drug discovery during the early days and also shed lights on contribution of CDRI from 1980-2000 CDRI. He also mentioned reasons why the speed of drug development gets slowed down despite of scientific advances during 1980-2000 and western countries moved fast from us.

Interdisciplinary approach to understand the drug development is important: Dr T K Chakraborty

While addressing the audience Dr Chakaborty said that a chemist must be aware of the biological phenomenon and a biologist must also learn the chemical structures. The coordination between two will lead more fruitful research output. Medicinal chemists may contribute in better way by understanding the intermediate metabolite during the disease biology for synthesis of new molecules.

We have to cope with the competitiveness in global scenario: Dr Madhu Dikshit

Earlier Indian Pharma industry sought technologies from CSIR institutions. Pharma turnover was 32 crores in 1952 which was raised up to 2 lakh crore 2017. But due to tremendous Global growth in Biology, biotechnology, In-vitro specific assay systems (cell, receptor etc), protein isolation, characterization, ligand interaction and Newer drug discovery platforms India is facing more competition in drug development and research.

Panel discussion: How CDRI can contribute for improving the present and future of Drug Development in India

After the brain storming lectures by the stalwarts of drug discovery in India, Professor Kundu invited them for panel discussion to know their views how CDRI can contribute for improving the present and future of Drug Development in India. All the panellist were agree with Dr C.M. Gupta for upgradation of skills in molecular and computational sciences, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology is required. Professor Kundu suggested new research area for aging research and epigenetics research to understand the diseases biology. Panellist were also agreed to change our approach towards collaboration with industries and academia to compete with global scenario. CSIR-CDRI should put more emphasis on disease markers and diagnosis along with its new drug developmental research program. More collaborative projects can be initiated for this. New start up can be initiated and supported to filling the gap with industry.