Mr Anurag Bagaria, Chairman and CEO of Kemwell Biopharma, Bengaluru, inaugurated Manipal Centre for Biotherapeutics Research (MCBR) at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal. He said “I am very happy to see that MAHE has taken the lead in the country to establish a dedicated centre for carrying out Biotherapeutics Research, a science that continues to gain momentum in the universities of the developed countries. I am confident that this centre will emerge as one of the eminent centres in this part of the globe. In the last 40 years, biotherapeutics have become an important part of modern medicine with a great focus on the areas of cell therapy, gene therapy, protein therapy and biomaterials. From Insulin, the first modern medicine produced using biotechnological methods, to today’s COVID vaccine, biotherapeutics research has come a long way. With advances in Biotherapeutics research, especially cell and gene therapy, we are starting to see cures for certain diseases, for example, CAR-T products for leukaemia and gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy. Without academia-industry collaboration, none of these would have been possible”.
Guest of Honor Dr Ranjan R Pai, Chairman of MEMG, Bengaluru said “Globally, biotherapeutics is the fastest growing sector in the pharma industry today. But we need to get deeper in the area of innovative cell therapies for regeneration and cancer treatment, gene therapy, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines etc., to compete with the developed countries. Although biologics produced in the developed countries provide hope for many unmet medical needs, their high costs pose an entry barrier to the developing markets. I call upon Pharma/Biopharma companies to reduce the load on their in-house R&D units and focus more on strategic partnerships with high ranking institutions to manage time and money more efficiently”.
Chief Guest Mrs Vasanti R Pai launched the webpage of the new centre. Dr H S Ballal, Pro Chancellor of MAHE said “MAHE continuously strives to improve the quality of teaching and research. In addition, we are focusing on innovation in the emerging technologies like Biotherapeutics. MAHE has established the state of the art facility to carry out advanced research in Biotherapeutics , and I am glad to note that all the faculty of MCBR are foreign-trained and gained experience in the industries as well as academia. The new centre is expected to create novel intellectual properties and innovative products.”
Lt. Gen. (Dr) M D Venkatesh, Vice Chancellor of MAHE, said “MAHE has taken the initiative to establish Manipal Centre for Biotherapeutics Research, which aims to carry out translational research in the area of biological therapy, primarily in collaboration with Biopharma industries. MCBR will offer Masters (by research), Doctoral and postdoctoral Programs in the area of Biotherapeutics. It also aims to co-create or co-develop Biotherapeutics products in partnership with Biopharma companies.
Dr Raviraja N S, Director of Corporate Relations and Coordinator of MCBR said “MCBR aims to develop Biotherapeutics with a broad remit covering all biological products with a therapeutic potential mainly in the areas of cell, gene, protein, nanotechnology, regenerative medicine and biomaterials. MCBR has clean rooms and GMP labs and equipped with sophisticated equipments. We can offer co-working space to the partnering Biopharma companies at very nominal cost or they can outsource translational research projects to MCBR. Some problems can’t be solved by academia or industry alone, but the collaboration should lead to mutual benefit”.
Dr. Vasan Sambandamurthy, CEO, DBT Wellcome Trust India Alliance, stressed industry-academia collaboration in biotheraoeutics research and wished the centre all the best. Dr. Mukesh Kumar, VP and Head of clinical R&D, Cipla Limited, stated the need for Academia-Industry partners to innovate sustainable approaches to overcome the current healthcare challenges continuously. Mr. Manohar BN, MD and CEO, Stempeutics Research Pvt. Ltd. cited the current challenges in cell therapy industry and the need for cost-effective innovative solutions. Dr Sairam Atluri, co-founder of RCRI, Hyderabad, and Dr. Roberto Salvi, Lab Head, Curio Biotech, Switzerland, are in the advanced stages of collaboration discussion with MCBR and expressed their best wishes to MCBR.
MCBR faculties Dr Manjunatha SM proposed the vote of thanks while Dr Sachin Kadam anchored the program.