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Indian Pharma - The rise of discovery services

Drug discovery services are a new opportunity for Indian pharma. And a clutch of entrepreneurs have started making their moves

Kolkata, India - January 23, 2006 - India's prospects in clinical trials, one part of the chain that is being outsourced, has been well documented (see 'The Booming Business Of Drug Testing', BW, 14 October 2002). This article deals with some of the lesser-known parts of the outsourcing opportunity - services that actually support the process of discovering new drugs and testing their efficacy. This is called discovery research outsourcing.

Kolkata, a city with no pharma industry to speak of, is an unlikely setting for a drug discovery services company's operations. Nonetheless, Kolkata is where TCG Lifesciences, a project of the US-based The Chatterjee Group (TCG), is based. In the last four years, TCG Lifesciences has made four distinct forays into research.

TCGA, a private/public partnership, is part of a six-institute initiative. In the year since its inception, it has published a paper on the Indian genome variation database (which studies genes of different populations), a project that will align with the international database of the genome types of the world, the HAPMAP project.

Chembiotek, TCG's drug discovery services company, is its engine of growth. This business unit offers combinatorial chemistry, medicinal chemistry, custom synthesis, process chemistry and biological research capabilities. It has also moved into collaborative research projects. Clininvent Research is its clinical trial management company and Silicogene operates in the informatics space. Says Swapan Bhattacharya, CEO, TCG Lifesciences: "TCG will be one of the significant global players in the drug discovery space." Amen to that.

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