Nicholas Piramal opens second research site

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Contract research organisation, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical trial

Nicholas Piramal India (NPIL) has opened its second clinical
research facility and is eyeing the growing area of
biopharmaceutical testing.

Wellquest, the contract research organisation (CRO) owned by the Indian contract manufacturer has set up the new 112-bed operation in Hyderabad - which has almost twice the capacity of its existing 60-bed ward, 6-bed ICU in Mumbai. The new centre also hosts the company's first female-only ward as well as a paediatric ward. As with all CROs in India, the Hyderabad site will only conduct global trials for Phases II-III, unless the drug in question is being developed by a domestic pharma firm, in which case it would also be permitted by the government to run Phase I studies. Furthermore, experience in preclinical research, including primate and toxicology studies, in the country is generally still underdeveloped and heavily regulated and so NPIL said it will consider forging partnerships with firms in Singapore for such purposes. Meanwhile, Wellquest also announced its intention to set up a further facility for clinical trials on biopharmaceuticals within the next year - an area of drug development. Although NPIL's core business lies in drug manufacturing, the Indian heavy is using Wellquest as a way to establish itself in what is fast becoming the Indian pharmaceutical industry's next big thing - contract research. Sitting presently at around 1.5 per cent, within the next 10 to 15 years, 30 per cent of the world's clinical research will be conducted in India, according to the Drug Controller-General of India M. Venkateswarlu. According to the research conducted in collaboration with KnowGenix, a Mumbai-based research firm, the country's CRO market, currently worth $75m (€55m), is expected to grow at 24 per cent per year, reaching $175m by 2010. Hyderabad, where Wellquest has placed its new facility, is expected to absorb much of this new business, due to the city's prevalence of scientific institutions and talent.

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