CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) today organised a symposium on tuberculosis (TB) to further explore issues related to TB drug development and public policy approaches needed to address the gaps in the TB discovery pipeline. The symposium was organized in the memory of the late Dr. Paul Janssen who dedicated his life to discovering more than 80 medicines that benefitted millions of patients across the globe, and who founded the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson.
This symposium follows the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaborative research on TB Drug Discovery between CSIR-IMTECH and multinational healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson Private Limited.
During the symposium, a keynote address was delivered by Dr. Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Johnson & Johnson who is leading efforts to discover and develop treatments for several neglected disease, including tuberculosis and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Dr.Stoffels spoke on the need to strengthen efforts for addressing global healthcare challenges through open innovation and partnership. Dr.Stoffels’ keynote address was followed by presentation from Dr.Wim Parys, Head of Research & Development, Johnson& Johnson Global Public Health, who led the development of the company’s current pipeline of drugs for neglected infectious disease.
Other prominent speakers at the Symposium included Dr.Rohit Sarin, Director National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, Delhi, Dr.Behera, Head Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, Dr.Janmeja, Head Government Medical College & Hospital and Ms. DeeptiChavan who spoke on TB advocacy.
In India, TB kills 3 people every minute and about 1.5 million lives are lost annually across the world. The new collaboration between IMTECH & Johnson & Johnson will see scientists from both organizations working closely together on a research and development program to explore potentially more effective, safer, all-oral treatment regimens to tackle multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), as well as new molecular entities to treat all TB patients.
“There is a need to focus our research activities at IMTECH and bring maximum value to our Research & Development spending so as to address key healthcare challenges of people living with TB”, said Dr. Anil Koul, Director, CSIR-IMTECH who has dedicated the last 20 years of his medical research career to finding a cure for TB. He also noted that collaboration with partners like Johnson & Johnson are essential in order to bring innovative, translational medicines to India.
The visit of senior leaders from Johnson & Johnson to IMTECH is expected to spawn new ideas and cooperation to bolster India’s research in the fight against neglected disease.Over the last 30 years, CSIR-IMTECH has successfully developed strong scientific expertise in medical innovation with its state-of-the-art facilities and engagement with private sector enterprises.
The symposium was attended by leaders of various institutions in Chandigarh area including PGIMER, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Panjab University and other CRICK institutions who explored the possibilities of transforming Chandigarh as an innovation hub for global healthcare.