More synergy between industry, academia in India after COVID-19 pandemic: PSA Vijay Raghavan
Published on 20 November, 2022 / Published by The Economic Times

Synergy between industry and academia has enhanced after the COVID-19 pandemic in India and it is now time to embed this interaction by scaling it up for new development and research at a higher level, said Professor K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. Addressing the Global Innovation Summit on the pharmaceutical sector on Thursday, he said India is playing at a scale in the innovation space, and this will not only help the country but also create a source of sustainable revenue bringing new solutions to unmet healthcare needs.

Synergy between industry and academia is an area which the COVID 19 pandemic has enhanced and shown really well in India and we want to see more of that happening. We've seen that in developing test kits, vaccines, PPE and so on. It's now time to embed this interaction on a scale so that new developments and research can go on at a higher level," he said.

Raghavan asserted that India will lead not only in the creation of new jobs, but also reducing disease burden here and all over the world such as the development of drugs for both India-specific concerns, like tuberculosis and leprosy, which do not get global attention.

Affordable innovation is the way forward and India has a unique opportunity to deliver to global markets by building excellence across the innovation chain from discovery to development," he said.

Regulatory hoops have been developed, not so much to improve regulation alone, but also the wrong assumption that more regulation somehow improves the quality of regulation. Now, the pandemic has allowed a re-examination of that and we need to go to a situation where highest quality regulations of safety, privacy, rigour and science are combined with speed," he added.

The PSA said the Indian pharmaceutical industry has evolved to become a major facet of our healthcare ecosystem over the last few decades.

It has moved from being a importer to a manufacturer and now into a developer of pharma and multiple ways. And it has done this against extraordinary global odds. The global odds can be seen just by looking at the extent of R&D investment each of the big pharma companies make and each of them you know, the big ones make more investment than the entire US National Science Foundation. So, it is against these odds that innovation has taken place. Now, on the back of strong capabilities, our need now is to grab our kinds of opportunities and move forward," he said.

He said India has the ability now to move into new kinds of drug development in both biologics and biosimilars, new kinds of therapies using biological molecules and new kinds of chemistry relatively rapidly.

Raghavan said there is a need for expansion of the fundamental research ecosystem and link that to industry and start-ups.

There are two important components which policy has now addressed and will open up the doors. One is academia industry collaboration of various types and also facilitating as much as and institutions to start companies and become entrepreneurs themselves. These two aspects are going to be very important game changers as we go ahead," he added.

This article was originally published on The Economic Times