The Berlin Asia Summit, an event organized by the German government to bring together all stakeholders involved in creating a favorable ecosystem for startups, was held from September 12 to 16 in Berlin, Germany. Originally envisioned and launched in 1997, the summit has continuously worked to encourage startups and the startup ecosystem to develop worldwide. This year’s focus was on promoting sustainable development goals in the startup ecosystem.
Dr. Chaitra Harsha, Dr. Vipragan, represents the growing tribe of women entrepreneurs in the country
Biological Sciences was among the delegation from India. He is a renowned figure in the field of social entrepreneurship and healthcare innovation with multiple skills and cross-sector exposure.
A graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Dr. Harsha is a medical doctor by training but chose to pursue a career in research rather than clinical practice. She also took a course at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bengaluru designed to help women entrepreneurs by teaching them some basic business principles.
Dr. Harsha has been a key participant representing India at many events including the World Economic Forum in Hamburg, Germany and also attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) where he literally shook hands with Ivanka Trump. He struggled.
Additionally, she is also a charter member of TiE Bangalore Chapter, where she actively mentors budding women entrepreneurs. Dr. Harsha’s Vipragen, a team of dynamic individuals, is a Contract Research Organization (CRO) that helps global organizations focus their resources on research and development of new drugs, therapies, vaccines, etc. by outsourcing their pre-clinical trials.
India’s journey as a potential drug development destination began in the late 20th century, but recent restructuring of the regulatory process and increased capacity have certainly helped establish India as one of the leading innovation and manufacturing hubs. The global CRO market size is projected to reach USD 1,24,230 million by 2027, from USD 58,000 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 11.4% during 2021-2027.
Research and manufacturing of medical devices and therapeutic drugs are the main drivers of the market. Increasing investment in research and development, emergence of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies, and expiration of drug patents are expected to fuel the growth of the CRO market. The availability of quality healthcare practitioners – which automatically reduces the cost of conducting clinical trials at all stages – offers immense potential for India in this sector. This has led to a boom in CROs that provide cost-effective and quality services to global pharmaceutical companies.
Vipragen Biosciences, a Mysore-based preclinical drug discovery company, is one such organization. With a team of passionate and dynamic people, Vipragen has stepped forward in the fields of medical devices, analytical chemistry, inhalation toxicology, laboratory toxicology and other areas of preclinical discovery and development that will take shape in the coming year.
After completing his MBBS, Dr. Harsha received his PhD from the prestigious IISc, Bengaluru. At IISC, he researched tuberculosis (TB) vaccines as part of his Ph.D. Before joining Vipragen in 2016 along with Dr. Chandrasekhar, also an IIS specialist, Dr. Harsha has worn several hats including starting dental clinics, starting a medical tourism venture and bioinformatics consulting, among others. She has also done Management Program for Women Entrepreneurs (MPWE) from NSRCL for Entrepreneurship, IIM, Bengaluru.
Vipragen provides pre-clinical research services to biotech and pharmaceutical R&D companies within and outside India. Preclinical research includes early-stage research in which potential drugs are tested for safety in animals and the feasibility of conducting human trials is assessed. Initially raised through funds from family and friends, Vipragen’s growth curve was further supported by Indian angel investors and KITVEN, a Karnataka state venture fund that supports entrepreneurs.
Vipragen is proud to have a 25,000 square feet research facility in Mysore that meets the global standards of European and American regulators. With more than 50 employees, nearly half of them are scientists and about 35-40% are women. In addition to contract research, the Indian government has received grants from the Ministry of Biotechnology for five projects related to the development of domestic assets, says Dr. Harsha.
The company is conducting preliminary research on a natural polymer derived from seaweed that can be used in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, a potential anticoagulant, two antibiotics licensed from the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru to treat How many drugs are used? Drug-resistant bacteria (MDR) and drugs for the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Regarding the value CROs bring to the table, Dr. Harsha says, “The need to handle more complex drugs and clinical trials is expected to drive the creation of the contract research organization (CRO). Drug development has become more difficult due to advances in cell and gene therapies, antibody-drug combinations, cytotoxic chemical products, and in vitro and in vivo processing methods. Hiring a CRO sponsor can save time negotiating legal and regulatory restrictions that the company may not be familiar with.
A CRO may have more experience with these procedures and requirements, and therefore can ensure that all rules and regulations are followed more quickly and efficiently, expediting the clinical trial process. This is expected to further propel the CRO market. The new drug law prompted Western pharmaceutical companies to look seriously to India for research assistance since 2005, when the country began complying with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, a globally recognized intellectual property treaty. . Industry interest in India for affordable access to highly qualified scientists.
While most of India’s start-ups and unicorns have emerged in the IT sector, Dr. Harsha says that the development of indigenous vaccines for Covid-19 in a very short period of time is a paradigm shift in the mindset of investors in the life sciences sector. They have a long pregnancy period. course relative to the IT department.
Hoping for better research and industry collaborations in the future, Dr. Harsha is confident that if industry and research complement each other like they did during the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, the life sciences sector will have a bright future in India. When asked how she manages the stress of entrepreneurship, Dr. Chaitra says, “Women tend to be better entrepreneurs than men, being more organized, meticulous, and patient.”