The discovery and development landscape in India is changing, Prasa told delegates at the 13th Annual Pharmaceuticals Conference, held by the Economist in London. The country transitioned into abiding by the Product Patent Regime in 2005 and many Indian firms are being inspired to become innovative and are now building up their drug discovery capabilities. Several large traditionally generics-only Indian players in particular have begun developing their own internal R&D programmes and many of these will inevitably branch out into offering these discovery services on a contract basis also, as skills, experience and capacity increase. In addition, a few small players, Aurigene Discovery, Advinus Therapeutics, GVK Lifesciences and Connexios are already providing preclinical contract services in the region. At the same time more and more western pharma firms will be increasingly keen to use Indian contract research organisations (CROs) with preclinical capabilities as a way to explore opportunities for pipeline expansion while addressing upward spiralling R&D costs, said Prasa. Outsourced contract research in India (part of which will be preclinical) is expected to approach $2bn (€1.5bn) by 2010, according to Frost & Sullivan. Looking forward, as Indian firms operating in the contract research and manufacturing space strive to create more value across the drug discovery and development chain, partnerships will begin to form that provide them with the scale and critical mass to take a drug all the way from discovery to market, said Prasa. No Indian CROs currently have a full-service offering, but this will soon change, he said. Meanwhile, Malvinder Singh, CEO and managing director of Ranbaxy - which last week became the subject of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation in the US - was due to present his take on India's pharma outsourcing industry at the conference, but had to pull out at the last minute.