Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, opened its first drug development centre in Asia on Wednesday at IIT Madras Research Park in Chennai, bringing together crucial research and development skills. Pfizer’s initiative is part of a global network of 12 global centres dedicated to developing small molecules and novel formulations for the global market.
According to sources, Pfizer has spent more than Rs 150 crore ($20 million) on the centre, which spans 61,000 square feet. Development of active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage forms of differentiated products such as complex and value-added formulations, controlled-release dosage forms, device-combination products, lyophilized injections, powder-fill products, and ready-to-use formulations are among the capabilities brought under one roof by the centre.
While work has already begun at the IIT Madras Research Park with a few personnel, the centre will eventually employ over 250 people. The workers will comprise scientists and experts from many scientific fields, such as formulation scientists and pharmacists, microbiologists, biotechnologists, chemical engineers, data scientists, and programme managers, according to the Center.
Pfizer India Country Manager S Sridhar stated on May 4 that the establishment of Asia’s first drug research centre will promote industry relationships and encourage increased cooperation to drive global innovation.
“Pfizer’s drug development centre in the IIT Madras Research Park is a positive opportunity for Pfizer to establish truly one of the most advanced laboratories for R&D in the aforementioned disciplines anywhere in the world, in Chennai, and an opportunity to showcase the potential of R&D in the country,” he was quoted as saying.
J Radhakrishnan, the health secretary of Tamil Nadu, praised the move and stated that the centre will allow Indian experts to build a worldwide footprint in medical research and development. “It will also enable for collaboration between industry and academics in the future,” he continued.
However, S Aparna, the secretary of India’s Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers’ Division of Prescription Drugs, stated that pharma companies are increasingly being asked to provide innovative solutions that address the current issues that healthcare providers and patients are facing.
“Pfizer’s new centre in Chennai is a move in the right direction.” Such attempts to deepen and grow international work through this centre will allow for knowledge exchange, which we believe will improve patient outcomes in the years ahead,” she added.
According to reports, the Centre, which is on par with 12 other worldwide centres, combines two tasks under Pfizer’s export-oriented initiative: Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Global Technology and Engineering Centre of Excellence.
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The Pharmaceutical Sciences division will focus on anti-infectives, oncolytics, and sterile injectables, while the Global Technologies and Engineering Centre of Excellence will focus on active pharmaceutical ingredients process and manufacturing technology to deliver medications to patients.