Private equity firm puts crores into Indian CRO

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pharmacology

GVK Bio has reinforced its claim to be India's top contract
research organisation with a 100-crore ($25m) push from a private
investment company. The funds will be used to expand its drug
discovery services and push further into preclinical and clinical
development.

GVK said the cash injection, made by the Indian arm of global investment firm Sequoia Capital, would help it fund an ongoing capital expansion programme. Last month the company opened a dedicated research centre that will provide medicinal chemistry services to Wyeth, and it also has plans to set up a research campus outside Hyderabad and embark on a major scientist recruitment drive. Indian CROs like GVK are following in the footsteps of some of their western counterparts and trying to develop a full-service offering for its pharmaceutical clients, including discovery, preclinical, clinical, data management, process development and custom synthesis capabilities. While opinion is divided as to whether any Indian CRO has truly achieved this aim, GVK can certainly make a strong claim to it. And the payoff for those that do is the potential for high-level partnerships with its customers, rather than simple vendor-based relationships. In a statement, it said the new funding would in part fund the 60-crore Hyderabad campus, and also give it the financial muscle to pursue 'growth opportunities through mergers and acquisitions​'. India has been predicted to become a major player in preclinical and drug discovery services, helped both by the emergence of the country's internal research-based drug industry as well as interest from western pharma firms seeking to cut back spiraling R&D costs. GVK claims to already work with 15 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, and clearly has further ambitions outside India. Earlier this year it cut a joint venture deal with US CRO INC Research, centered on giving the US firm access to its Phase I-IV clinical trial facilities in Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi. It also rcently teamed up with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to validate its database of biomarkers, a move which will no doubt raise the profile of GVK's informatics division amongst the international pharma industry. Outsourced contract research in India (part of which will be preclinical) is expected to approach $2bn by 2010, according to data supplied by market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

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