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Charting Indias Quest for Innovation in Drug Discovery and Personalised Medicine

Charting Indias Quest for Innovation in Drug Discovery and Personalised Medicine

Dr. Venkat Mattela , CEO and Founder, Ceremorphic


India's pharmaceutical sector stands as a global powerhouse, earning the esteemed title of the "Pharmacy of the World" for its unparalleled ability to supply medicines and medical aid to nations worldwide. The industry is now undergoing a metamorphosis, with projections indicating staggering growth to reach a value of USD 100 billion by 2025. A significant contributor to this growth trajectory is India's flourishing biotechnology industry, encompassing various sectors such as biopharmaceuticals, bio-services, bio-agriculture, bio-industry, and bioinformatics. Valued at USD 64 billion in 2019, this sector is expected to more than double, reaching a remarkable USD 150 billion by 2025. 

The integration of technology in drug discovery sets India apart not only in scale but also in quality standards. It proudly hosts the largest number of US-FDA-compliant plants outside of the USA, with over 262, including Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). Moreover, the country boasts nearly 1400 WHO-GMP-approved pharmaceutical plants and 253 European Directorate of Quality Medicines (EDQM)-)-approved plants, all equipped with cutting-edge technology.

For decades, the high cost of drug discovery and development, coupled with stringent regulatory barriers, has concentrated pharmaceutical innovation. By lowering entry barriers and enabling participation in innovation, technology has allowed Indian Pharma to pivot. Despite the evolving landscape of drug discovery and the increasing demand for personalized medicines, India is well-equipped to navigate these challenges. With a commitment to innovation and excellence, Indian pharmaceutical companies are poised to continue their trajectory of success on the global stage. 

Backed by a robust Research & Development (R&D) ecosystem, India is well-positioned to serve the world in research and manufacturing support for the next several decades, and this is no exception to the pharma industry. India has consistently demonstrated the capability to be a reliable and dominant manufacturing force. However, the discovery and development of drugs in India are in its nascency. Despite abundant talent, we are in the manufacturing realm for an obvious reason - risk mitigation. Having obtained the current level of resources both in talent and expertise in methodology, coupled with financial resources, the next phase of growth is expected to be in Research and Development.

Traditional generic drug manufacturing has undoubtedly fostered collaboration channels, enabling the Indian market to become proficient in various processes and certification methods. However, these methodologies currently employed fail to adequately meet the industry's evolving needs, whether it be expediting drug development or reducing costs. This discrepancy presents a significant opportunity for innovation, particularly through the adoption of new methodologies bolstered by advancements in computer science and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies hold immense potential to address the existing challenges in drug development by streamlining processes, optimizing resource utilization, and enhancing predictive capabilities. Unlike the approaches prevalent in previous decades, this shift not only presents challenges but also opens the door for new entrants to the field. With a fresh perspective and access to cutting-edge technologies, these new players have the opportunity to disrupt traditional practices and contribute to the advancement of drug discovery.

The integration of computer science and AI into the pharmaceutical industry represents a pivotal step toward realizing the full potential of data-driven decision-making and precision medicine. By leveraging advanced computational algorithms and machine learning techniques, researchers can expedite the process of drug discovery, identify novel therapeutic targets, and optimize treatment regimens tailored to individual patients. India, with its burgeoning tech ecosystem and pool of skilled professionals, is well-positioned to harness the power of computer science and AI in revolutionizing drug development and maintaining its leadership role in the global pharmaceutical arena. 

India already has the most credible and proven medical superpower by providing essential drugs, medical expertise, treatment infrastructure, and capacity building to other nations. The next phase would be in the discovery and development of new drugs. The recent Covid was an example where India did contribute to the world by providing essential vaccines and it is a testament to the capability of the R&D. Going forward, with the advent of AI and computing power, India is poised to be a player in drug discovery not just as a manufacturing partner but as a driving force in R&D.

Articles about articles | May - 14 - 2024



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