Indian Goverment’s Department of Science and Technology launches enhanced clinical research units in colleges

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will set up enhanced clinical research units in select colleges across India ,

Delivering the valedictory address at the International Conference on Radiation Biology hosted by Sri Ramachandra University, DST Secretary  T. Ramasami said the idea behind the joint inter-agency initiative that also involved the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Department of Biotechnology would upgrade facilities at about a dozen colleges in which medical research is already being pursued.

The DST Secretary  T. Ramasami pointed out that there were only 1.40 lakh scientists engaged in full-time research in a country that had a legacy of Ayurveda, yoga, astronomy and astrophysics.

S. P. Thyagarajan, Pro-Chancellor, SRU, said the Memorandum of Understanding between SRU and the Sylvester Cancer Center, Miami, U.S., that was one of the outcomes of the conference, envisaged collaboration in education, training, research and exchange of faculty and students.

 

India announce Heart Surgery for $1000 USD

Launched by British Prime Minister David Cameron on 28 July 2010 in Bangalore, India, Dishaa is an initiative that will expand, enrich and energise relations between India and the UK.

Dishaa means direction in India’s national language Hindi. And that what the it is aiming for direction for for future leaders from India and UK

Dishaa has announced the new challenge for the millenia will be

Heart surgery at $1,000 (USD) – what has to change in how society operates and innovates to make this a reality?

Dr Devi Shetty of  Narayana Hrudayalaya a large hospital group specializing in Cardiac Surgery from Bangalore, India says  it is on the way to become a reality

And he is going ahead with the plan to open India’s first low-cost hospital for caridac surgery will be up and running in Mysore  by early next year, to offer Cardiac Surgery at $1500 USD against the current cost of  $5000 USD in India

These state-of-the art hospitals will be built at a cost of  just $ 35 Million USD, about one-fifth the cost of constructing a 300-bed super-speciality hospital in India.  By 2012 Dr. Shetty plan to open 50 more such hospitals in India. the next are coming up in Siliguri (West Bengal) and Bhubaneswar (Orissa) with help from  The Union health ministry of India

Details on Dishaa page

http://www.commonpurpose.org/info/media-releases/101021_$1,000-(usd)-for-heart-surgery

George Bush Sings Glory to Open Source

The truth behind the new bill signed into law by President Bush on 26 December 2007, which states that the findings of NIH-funded research must be made freely available to the public within one year of publication.

But all is not Hunky dory , as more obvious once you go through the complete text of the LAW as published in Government website

And it clearly states that copyright law takes precedence over deposition into PubMed Central.

What does that mean, when you publish a research paper it usually belongs to the University or the institution that funded the project. ie if you did sign a copyright transfer agreement with your publisher or sponsor of your funding he can deny the article being published in open source website or journal.

The only surprise is that in future based on the new Law the Director of NIH can prevent publication by grant recipients in journals that don’t allow publications of articles into PubMed Central. Aha now thats not good news for scientists and many are not going to welcome it either

But how many would care NIH is not the lone sponsor of grants, and yes certainly none from healthcare/pharma companies would allow their articles be published at open source journals. that questions how helpful the law would become

But certainly Many Many thanks and Happy New Year to  SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access  for making the first step, and it sure is a big one

There is certainly going to evoke multiple responses from everyone, wired magazine says its bad news for the science publishing industry, who’ve rallied against initiatives such as PRISM, and other open source websites such as PLOS, to preserve the right of journal publishers to charge for access to federally-funded findings. that means they will find their ways

Am certainly one of those not so politically obsessed persons, and I dont know that many politically savvy lab rats. may be few of those working in stem cell research, cloning or any other controversial topics might be. but I am beginning to like Dubya more. Not a bad a move for someone more associated bad grammar

Gene Logic sells in genomics division

It hardly a week I have wrote about acquisition and mergers , it seems the rain is noit going to stop any time soon, the latest one , to give away the home plate is Genelogic agreeing to sell its genomics division to India HQ Ocimum Biosolutions subject to the authorization of the transaction at a special meeting of shareholders of Gene Logic.

This is a transforming event of significant strategic proportion,” said Charles L. Dimmler, III, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gene Logic.

Genelogic bought its preclinical division from TherImmune, a Gaithersburg company, in April 2003 for $51 million which was sold to Bridge Pharmaceuticals for $15 Million,

Gene Logic Inc said it agreed to sell its Genomics assets to Ocimum Biosolutions Ltd for $10 million in cash. Under the terms of the Ocimum sale agreement, Gene Logic retains full rights in perpetuity to utilize the existing information data bases of its former Genomics business as key elements in building its emerging drug repositioning and development business. Furthermore, the Company will retain specified assets related to molecular diagnostics and will continue to explore strategic alternatives for these assets

The sale is part of the Genelogic new strategy to focus on to build drug repositioning and development business which was decided last year.

Ocium will assume certain liabilities associated with the Genomics assets and business and will pay Gene Logic $7 million at closing and $3 million payable in a promissory note due 18 months from closing.

The purchase includes Gene Logic’s Knowledge Products business including the The BioExpress® System a continually growing genomic database of gene expression data and associated clinical information from over 18,000 human and animal tissues and cell line samples. ToxExpress® a toxicogenomics reference database.

Ocimum will continue to operate the business out of the current state-of-the-art laboratory facility of Gene Logic in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

New horizons ahead

Its been two years since I have been with Ocimum Biosolutions ,the India HQ company serving bioinformatics and microarray market in US with office in Indianapolis and another lab in netherlands, I have been working in the business development of the company’s microarray arm in US which was acquired from MWG biotech, we had tasted success,

I have been busy lately as I have resigned from the company now that explains the absence of any new posts for few weeks now. Ocimum is one of the unique bioinformatics oraganization to make its mark in this industry, because unlike many new companies .  it was started by people with no biological background but has been selected as one of fastest growing life science company in India and Asia many times by Deloitte ranking and many other independent agencies. apart from winning awards from government and even a funding fro world bank. So what makes them so sucessful

Ocimum offers services in bioinformatics oligo microarray and R&D but its the presence of its labs near to its customers and the company’s software development division housed at Hyderabad India that makes the difference. Coupled with India’s cost efficiency, it has many advantages

Bioinformatics industry is going through a face of consolidation, marketed in India in its infancy as a glamorous field to work many who jumped into the fray has burned their hands. and industry analysis in 2000 predicted the industry to become a 100 billion worth by 2004, yet even in 2007, majority of the biologists are yet to warm upto the industry in a way predicted by the software pundits

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c59429) has announced the addition of “Biomed Outsourcing Report: An Overview of the Life Sciences and Outsourcing Landscape in India: Spotlight on Bangalore” to their offering.

From science to business

It takes upto to 15 years and multimillion  dollar investments  to patent and market one successful drug for pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Trying to make the sure that the scientists receive the best R&D support possible companies have looked at outsourcing and insourcing and everything else.

And the new boy in the buzz world is “crowdsourcing” claiming businesses a way to tap into a larger, global community of scientists and R&D exeutives.

Crowdsourcing is a business model in which a company or institution takes a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsources it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call over the Internet. The work is compensated with little or no pay in most cases. However, in a few examples the labor is well-compensated .

Did that made sense it sounds like open source in biotech fields. but hold on your horses, it not that straight forward, remember Nature has published an article about open source in drug discover industry some time back, there is big list of things that makes it a difficult project.

But there is one company that has pulled it off successfully set up by drug giant Eli Lilly in 2001, for its projects Innocentive is one such crowdsourcer, So far, chemicals and life sciences have been the main users of crowdsourcers, offering rewards of up to $1m if they are successful. There are other places , such as Nine Sigma and Yet2.com and Scienteur, offer similar models.

Another firm Procter & Gamble P&G also works with Nine Sigma , YourEncore andYet2.com and Innocentive

Boeing , Dow Chemical , Eli Lilly and Procter & Gamble , Solvay are number of companies that have benefited fro this model ,

IT industry has grown to this level because people were willing to share data and collaborate , ofcourse there is much difference between IT and biological industry . But will scientists from life science industry would do it- So far the answer is No- may in future they might be more open to such needs

Read Related studies Further at
The Value of Openness in Scientific Problem Solving

Can open-source R&D reinvigorate drug research a nature Review

Previous Blogs

Open source in Biotechnology

Online data Sharing for scientists – Will they accept it

Consolidation in Oligo industry and Growth for India based companies and outsourcing value proposition in Genomics and microarray/oligo industry

Ocimum Biosolutions acquires European based Oligo manufacturing company – Isogen Life Science

November 17, 2006, IJsselstein/Hyderabad – Ocimum Biosolutions, a leading provider of laboratory information management systems (LIMS), bioinformatics solutions, Microarrays and contract research headquartered in Hyderabad, India, has acquired the BioMolecules synthesis business of Isogen Life Science based in The Netherlands.

Ms. Anuradha Acharya, CEO of Ocimum Biosolutions said “We are very pleased to have taken a significant step towards becoming a global oligo player with the Isogen acquisition. We will continue looking for targets in related areas to scale up our oligo production capability. This acquisition will also help us become a more integrated genomics services provider with three delivery points in Indianapolis, IJsselstein and Hyderabad.”

Mr. Hans Beijersbergen van Henegouwen, MD of Isogen Life Science said, “It is an excellent opportunity for the Biomolecules Division of Isogen Life Science to become a global player in this competitive business. The new business configuration will be much more flexible and will be able to play an important role in the vast growing demand for oligo nucleotides all over the world. Ocimum is the perfect partner for fulfilling a broad platform of needs in this market segment.”

Avendus Advisors was the sole financial advisor to Ocimum for the deal. Commenting on the transaction, Shiraz Bugwadia, A.V.P., Avendus Advisors “Ocimum is one of the few Indian players within the BioIT and microarrays space to have scaled up successfully over the last couple of years. Ocimum has also been successful at using the inorganic route to scale rapidly by acquiring niche good quality companies in Europe such as MWG Biotech’s division and now Isogen Life Science.”

About Isogen Life Science:

Isogen Life Science (www.isogen-lifescience.com) is a leading supplier of products for the life science sector. The company provides a wide range of instruments, reagents and consumables in the areas of cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Isogen Life Science is a merger between B&L Systems (1987), the Benelux distributor for scientific instrument companies, and Isogen Bioscience (1988), a leading producer of DNA, RNA, peptides and related products, which are used around the world by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and leading research institutes.

About Ocimum Biosolutions:

Ocimum Biosolutions is a life sciences R&D enabling company with three main focus areas, BioIT, Microarrays and Contract research services. The US operations of the Company focuses on custom contract research services in the molecular biology area while the Indian operations provide BioIT services and Microarrays. Ocimum has more than 300 prestigious clients worldwide including the Centres for Disease Control, University of Toronto HIV clinic, National Research Council of Canada, Dow AgroSciences, Max Planck Institute etc.

Ocimum has adopted an inorganic strategy to ramp up the business fast and has demonstrated its capability to execute this strategy in the past. As a part of its strategy, Ocimum acquired a division of MWG Biotech, Germany in 2005. The Company has received a host of awards and recognitions. The Company has recently received the IT Innovation award by NASSCOM, presented by H.E. the President of India. Also, Red Herring magazine picked Ocimum as one of the eight compani es to watch in India. Deloitte ranked the Company as 4th Fastest growing Technology company in India and the Fastest growing Life Sciences Company in India.

For more information, please visit: www.ocimumbio.com

Indian company gets 6.5 million USD IFC funding to promote contract research in bioinformatics and genetics industry

Hyderabad, November 15, 2006 – Ocimum Biosolutions today announced that International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will invest USD 6.5 million of equity, for a minority stake, and debt in the Company. Funds raised from this transaction will be used for financing both organic as well as inorganic growth of the Company.

Says Ms. Anuradha Acharya, Founder & CEO of Ocimum Biosolutions, “We are very happy to have IFC as our partner for growth. These are exciting times for Ocimum and to have IFC as an investor in the company brings a lot of confidence in our clients and partners.”

Iyad Malas, IFC’s Director for South Asia, said, “IFC’s support to Ocimum will provide the company its much needed growth capital to establish an internationally competitive contract research outsourcing company and promote the discovery of new drugs at lower costs. We will also help institute improved corporate governance standards.”

This is Ocimum’s first round of fund raising from private equity investors. The Company is contemplating another round of fund raising in the next 18-24 months.

Recently, Ocimum acquired a Europe based oligo manufacturer. The Company is also scouting for more targets in the European market.

Avendus Advisors was the sole financial advisor to Ocimum for the deal. Commenting on the transaction, Shiraz Bugwadia, A.V.P., Avendus Advisors “Ocimum is one of the few Indian players within the BioIT and micro arrays space to have scaled up successfully over the last couple of years. Ocimum has also been successful at using the inorganic route to scale rapidly by acquiring niche good quality companies in Europe such as MWG Biotech’s division and now a Netherlands based oligos manufacturer.”

About Ocimum Biosolutions:

Ocimum Biosolutions is a life sciences R&D enabling company with three main focus areas, BioIT, Microarrays and Contract research services. The US operations of the Company focuses on custom contract research services in the molecular biology area while the Indian operations provide BioIT services and leverage on India’s low cost advantage in IT space. The Company enjoys a strong brand image in the market and has worked with some of the best research organizations in the world like IIT Kharagpur, National Research Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri Foods, NIH, Dow Agro Sciences, etc.

Ocimum has adopted an inorganic strategy to ramp up the business fast and has demonstrated its capability to execute this strategy in the past. As a part of its strategy, Ocimum acquired a division of MWG Biotech, Germany in 2005. The Company has received a host of awards and recognitions. The Company has recently received the IT Innovation award by NASSCOM, presented by H.E. the President of India. Also, Red Herring magazine picked Ocimum as one of the eight companies to watch in India and was a winner of Red Herring’s Asia 100. Deloitte ranked the Company as Fastest growing life sciences company in India.

For more information, please visit: www.ocimumbio.com.

About International Finance Corporation:

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services.

For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.

standardization in microarray analysis software industry

scouting for the right software for the microarray analysis software , kept me thinkng why despite these software being used by scores or scientists no one has come forward to create what can be called as a standard for such software, the confusion rains in this field as one company’s software data do not work with another one and vice versa, For an industry like biology and drug discovery  that is trying to benefit from the knowledge of mathematics statitics and chemistry physics inability to port data across platform is a serious roadblock. there are standards such as MIAMe and MAGE but these are just data standards, not for softwares, I believe ther should be  something similar to ISO standards, SEI CMI etc.

majority of the newsgroup and forums are used by graduate and at times senor researchers to find out which is the best software to be used, I thought of starting a wiki page where researchers can post their comments and rate the products and compare the features against each other,

can open source ideals begin to give a real answer to biotech’s future

would it be possible to adopt the ideals of the open source in microarray development, there has been many research works that can be hailed as open source ideals in the biotechnology space, human genome project can be the perfect example, But apart from the few attempts by academia and non profits institutions there havnt been many attempts to look at this as a way forward, Microarray development can be termed as a lucrative field where such a coalition would accrue great benefits, By releasing the research works for others for free of cost it is possible to bring down the cost of microarray, there is no doubt that it would benefit the new research frontiers such as pharmacogenomics and toxicogenomics, by reducing the cost per array closer to any to other screening test currently adopted in hospitals or used by forensic labs. Microarray can also be used for reducing the costly PCR technique by closing in on a more focused number of genes to amplify from But it would mean that there has to be enough researchers out there who will be buying theses product in the first stage itself so as the company involved i such an audacious attempt would recover its cost and make profits to continue further work, thats a major hurdle to overcome, as custom microarray or at times even the existing one may not be useful to every researcher even if they are working on the same genome for example one person may be in toxicology research and the other in ecology or pure genetics even if they work on same genome the controls required and number of gene of interest would vary vastly across the spectrum, it may take a long time for the open source ideals to bear any fruit in this arena but that may be the way forward to bring meaningful results with less cost, till outsourcing can be a start for all things to come

 Abin paul Xavier

http://www.ocimumbio.com

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