The backbone of any innovative pharma company is its R&D (Research and Development). That’s where the ‘story’ is conceptualized and the product is developed. Scientists with impressive degrees strive laboriously to create medicines. Like magicians, they work their magic to save human lives. Purpose endures. Effort continues.
“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” These famous words from Hippocrates, one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine, resonate even today. Human life expectancy has doubled in the last century primarily because of more effective and safe medication. What does it take to develop these drugs to meet the existing and new health challenges that plague our planet? Let us look at our company’s R&D division wherein chemicals and formulations, trials, hits and misses, grit and determination, quality, professionalism and ethics, and funding of course, give us a promise – a promise for the future.
The seeds of good research and development in Cadila were sown decades ago by the company’s Founder Chairman, Shri Indravadan Ambalal Modi, who played a major role in formulating the Indian Patents Act, 1970. Revered in the industry, Shri Modi played his part in convincing the government to move away from Product Patent laws towards Process Patents enabling the Indian pharma companies to develop generics through in-house R&D. On its part, Cadila Pharmaceuticals invested in R&D with a dream of bringing out novel drugs at affordable price is the mission of the company..
The results have been encouraging. In 2004, when doctors around the world were prescribing Rabeprozole in oral tablet form, Cadila Pharmaceuticals introduced the world’s first intravenous (IV) formulation(Rabeloc) revolutionizing the landscape of GI drugs. The day the regulatory authorities granted a marketing approval, a sense of hurray percolated through our R&D offices and laboratories. That was just the beginning of many future milestones to be achieved. In 2009, the division added another feather to its cap with its ‘magic pill’. Heart attack and stroke patients were until then prescribed a host of pills to take at various times of the day. Cadila Pharmaceuticals came up with Polycap, a unique combination of five drugs in one pill to reduce the pill burden on the patients, thus improving their compliance. The Lancet Journal mentioned this innovation giving the makers a big pat on their backs. In the same year, a novel anti-tuberculosis drug, Risorine put the company in the spotlight again. It was the world’s first boosted rifampicin with a bio-enhancer piperine. In 2013, R&D yet again made a breakthrough with the world’s first targeted active immunotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), Mycidac-C which was a result of developing -this molecule through clinical trials on cancer patients ultimately winning a marketing approval. More recently, two new first-in-the-world innovations came out – a seasonal influenza vaccine, Cadiflu- S with the world’s first Virus like Particles (VLP) technology, and Curcumin, that achieves significantly better bioavailability in humans.
These achievements were a result of perseverance, dedication and long hours by people who spent years working on research, without knowing the final outcome – failure can occur at any stage of the development process. Nobody singularly gets recognition for their contribution and there are real constraints of time and budget with emphasis on eventual commercial success and profit.