Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences said, “We welcome Bill Gate and Melinda Foundation and it is a major partner for our Department of Biotechnology as it helps us to take challenges and we welcome their major interest in supporting the R&D facilities in India. Briefing media hosted by the Ministry of Science & Technology on Maximizing India’s capacity: Creating an ecosystem of innovation and research to address public health concerns, Shri Pawan Bansal further said, “ India’s focus is on health, nutrition, agriculture, technology and global health of mother-children, infectious diseases and these are area of priority for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also. We would also look to broaden the scope of partnership in technology in addition to vaccines and technology for maternal and child health. This would be very helpful for our industry and the Department of Bio-technology in discussing share R&D programme on discovery through ground challenges with Foundation for a possible announcement of low cost drugs.” Shri Pawan Bansal said that partnerships are crucial in bringing different institutions and organizations closer, to strengthen the capacity to innovate. He said, “Experiences match are relevant in RD programme including our institute and industry. The foundation is interested in utilizing India’s manufacturing capacity for vaccines and drugs as well low cost provider for the masses.”
Giving example of CSIR, the Science and Technology Minister said, “The innovation should focus not only on research and discovery, but we must endeavor how best it benefit poor. The initiative of this team’s Open Soft Drug Discovery (OSDD) for tuberculosis is one programme which has been accepted the world over. Today more than 45,000 young scientists from over 130 countries are already on board, interacting with each other and working to diverse molecules and for drugs discovery. With continued emphasis on this programme, we would ultimately become a model for Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD), which is the need to make drugs available, particularly relating to the tropical diseases available to the people at affordable cost. India has one of the world’s largest talent pools of scientists and researchers. The country is perfectly positioned to develop new inventions that will help to control health problems globally. Many drugs have been developed in CSIR laboratories in collaboration with Indian pharmaceutical companies, ex-researchers and support from Department of Bio-technology.
Shri Pawan Bansal presented the low cost drug to Mr Bill Gate for TB which was launched today by CSIR and Cadila earlier in the morning.
Mr Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Foundation also addressed the press. Mr Bill Gates said, “”India’s culture of innovation has led to unique solutions that are transforming health in India and providing lessons for similar advancements abroad. It is for this reason that I believe India can change the way the world prevents, controls and manages TB. Today is world TB Day. It exists not only in India but around the world. India has a large scientists community. Here is a product in India which will help to control TB”.
Earlier, Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Telecommunication and Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences formally released the new TB drug, Risorine in a meeting held today at CSIR to observe the ‘World Tuberculosis Day’. This drug has been commercialized by Cadilla Pharmaceuticals based on the CSIR technology. Shri Sibal stressed on the need to eradicate tuberculosis as a national priority in the 12th Five Year Plan and proposed that one of the 14 innovation universities being set up would be dedicated to Science & Technology for Public Healthcare. He was speaking during a meeting held today at CSIR to observe the ‘World Tuberculosis Day’. Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, outlined the success of the CSIR’s flagship program on Open Source Drug Discovery as an effective modal to find an affordable cure for tuberculosis. He opined that merging the open source education model of Open Source Drug Discovery with the emerging universities would definitely facilitate imparting quality education to the students.
Dr. Rajiv I. Modi, Managing Director, Cadilla Pharmaceuticals along with his senior colleagues made a brief presentation on the effectiveness of this new drug in providing low-cost treatment with no side effects.
Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari, DG, CSIR, made a presentation on OSDD and proposed the customary theme of the World TB Day as: Open Innovation for Global Collaboration to Combat TB for the year 2011 at the beginning of the meeting.Dr. M.K. Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology; Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology; and Ms. Vibha Puri Das, Secretary, Department of Higher Education also addressed the meeting.
On this occasion, some new initiatives being undertaken under the OSDD program were also announced. They are :
Setting up of an OSDD Chemistry laboratory at CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad, exclusively dedicated to the synthesis of potential anti-TB compounds.
Large scale screening of molecules against TB – CSIR laboratories will open up its small molecule libraries, from synthetic and natural sources.
Sequencing Mtb strains in large numbers to study variation in Mtb.
Collaboration with ICMR to bring clinicians and researchers work together for improving TB drug research.
OSDD will extend as a pan-India open source program for malaria with global participation.