Private Pharma Firms Knock CSIR to Develop TB Drug

Press Release | CSIR | April 15, 2011

CSIR officials are tight-lipped about the project since a panel is still evaluating the proposals.
"The committee couldn't meet since one of the committee members had been unwell. But we will soon decide about the molecules. In addition to the two molecules developed by the companies we have two leads of our own," said OSDD project director Zakir Thomas.

OSDD is an Internet-based platform, where scientists from countries and institutes who are working on TB can share information to avoid duplication. All discoveries become a part of the OSDD project, though credit is given to the researcher at all subsequent levels.

CSIR sources said both the molecules developed by the pharmaceutical companies have passed pre-clinical trials, and the companies have patented them. However, the patents won't be valid commercially, if they are adopted by CSIR. "There is a possibility that if we accept them to do the trials – we have asked for more information on the synthetic molecules – up to 80% of the trials would be funded by us. In lieu, we will have a say on the market price of the drug, as and when it is developed. The companies would have access to immense pool of experts," said a scientist.

CSIR is setting up an OSDD chemistry laboratory in Hyderabad for synthesis of potential anti-TB compounds. Plans are also afoot to extend OSDD to other neglected diseases like malaria.