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TCG Life seeks animal-trials unit

Kolkata,India - September 23, 2005 - TCG Life Sciences, a company promoted by The Chatterjee Group (TCG) of Purnedu Chatterjee, has plans to enter animal trials, either by picking up an existing third-party facility in India or by building its won setup.

According to Dr Swapan Bhattarcharya, head of TCG Life Sciences and a director of TCG, animal trials form a critical missing link in TCG Life Sciences's activities.

"Between developing a chemistry, there is a period before you can go human trials when you have to do animal trials, mainly for toxicity tests," he said.

"If we decide to set up our own facility, then it could take up to two years," he said. Acquisition of an existing facility would be tolook outside of India, at countries like China, where the regime is easier. TCG Life Sciences aims to become a company that can offer an integrated range of services akin to what pharmaceuticals major do on the R&D front.

"Overtime, when all of these are separately benchmarked, we may actually merge them together," he said. At present, the four outfits of TCG Life Sciences are working separately with clients. The Centre for Genomic Applications (TCGA) is in the first stage, or genomic and proteomics research, when one decides what the target should be while tackling a disease. It is a shared facility set up with the CSIR.

Then comes Chembiotek Research international, the drug discoveryoutfit. The third is animal testing, which TCG Life does not have as yet. The final link is Clininvent Research, the clinical trails outfits. SilicoGene Informatics is the common thread, specialising in software. He said TCG Life Sciences could be looking at the so called. Third World diseases, in which there is a "huge oppotunity", but which western multinationals tend to ignore because of the high costs of developing a new drug.

For example, TCG Life Sciences is doing a study, fully funded by a US government agency, on typhoid and cholera while it stays away from vaccine discovery, it is studying how vaccines interact with different population sets so that better vaccines can be developed. TCG Life Sciences is founded by debt and equity in a 1:1 ratio. Dr Bhattacharya declined to state revenue figure for TCG Life, but said it is over $10m.


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