India moving from generic drugs to new molecules: Expert

Moscow, June 2 (IANS) In the pharmaceuticals sector, India is moving from generics, where it has made a name with its affordable medicines, to innovating with new drug molecules that is the way of the future, a Russian expert said on Tuesday.

“India is now moving from generics to new molecules. From the perspective of the next five to 10 years, the winners are going to be innovative companies,” Kiril Kaem, executive director of the state-run Skolkovo Foundation, Russia’s biggest innovation fund, told IANS here.

Skolkovo is to sign an agreement on Tuesday at the foundation’s international conference here with India’s leading medical new molecules maker, the Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.

“Biotech is the second hottest issue in India right now after IT (information technology),” Kaem, who is also the vice president of Skolkovo, said.

He said his organisation was discussing a couple of projects with Indian organisations on regenerative medicine, one on drug development, and was in talks with Delhi University on a joint project regarding the genomic selection of crops.

Glenmark, starting off from the generics business earlier, has become a major player in the new molecules business, with seven of them currently in various stages of development.

“In my opinion, Glenmark is among the most interested in development of innovative pharmaceuticals. The company is moving faster than the competition in the field,” Kaem said.

He explained that the agreement to be signed with Glenmark envisaged a two-way cooperation, whereby a foreign research and development company moving to Russia can leverage Skolkovo infrastructure, Russian research and development, academic institutions as well as financing from Skolkovo.

Skolkovo, the strategic development institution of the Russian government, runs the Skolkovo City near Moscow which houses an innovation centre comprising over 1,000 companies and startups, a Technopark and a new university established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The resident companies in the Startup Village conduct research in diverse fields ranging from information technology and robotics, space, energy-efficiency technologies and new materials.

Skolkovo aims to bring R&D companies into Russia, while for pharma companies the Russians also offer the facility of clinical trials before the marketing of a drug.

“Skolkovo residents don’t pay any taxes apart from the 14 percent on their payroll. They also have a customs free facility to bring in equipment and supplies,” Kaem said.

Thirty of the world’s most successful corporations, including Boeing, Cisco Systems, Airbus (formerly EADS), GE, Johnson & Johnson and IBM have already entered into agreements with Skolkovo.

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