THSTI organizes Healthtech Conclave as a part of i-Connect events

15 Jun 2022

To celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence, the Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India is organizing 75 i-Connect (Industry Connect) events from 12th May 2022 to 12th August 2022 to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and forge partnership(s) with industries. As a part of i-Connect events, THSTI organized Healthtech Conclave on ‘Healthcare intervention to combat COVID-19 pandemic’ on 13th June, 2022 in a hybrid mode highlighting academia-industry collaboration for fighting the pandemic including vaccine development.

Prof. Pramod Garg, ED, THSTI welcomed the guests from industries and attendees to the conclave. In his address, he highlighted India’s success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and THSTI’s contributions during the pandemic. Prof. Garg stressed upon the stellar role and significant contribution by THSTI especially in vaccine development such as Sputnik, CORBEVAX and ZyCovD and in-house vaccine development. Addressing the audience, Prof Garg spoke about clinical cohorts and Pan-India hospital network set up with THSTI as the nodal centre to study COVID-19 effects on people. Prof. Garg also spoke about the THSTI-Panacea Biotec collaboration that received a $12.5 million funding from Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop a pan-beta corona virus vaccine.

THSTI’s clinical team led by Prof. Shinjini Bhatnagar presented the data on the cohort and hospital network studies. THSTI was the first institute to set up the Hamster and Transgenic mice model to study COVID-19 in India and these were provided to academia and industries. Dr. Amit Awasthi briefly spoke about the various companies that have been supported with these animal models and also the various cellular and immunogenicity assays that were provided to the industries. Dr. Gaurav Batra spoke about the diagnostic kit developed by THSTI that has been given to an industry and widely used in sero-surveillance in Karnataka.  In her address, Dr. Sweety Samal gave highlights of her research work on developing a Pan-beta coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with Panacea Biotec which has led to funding from CEPI.

As a part of i-Connect, representatives from pharmaceutical companies also participated in the event. Dr. Vikram Paradkar, Executive Vice president, Biological E. Limited highlighted contribution of THSTI in developing CORBEVAX vaccine. He briefly spoke about various other COVID-19 vaccines on which Biological E. Limited is presently working. Dr. Piyush Agarwal, Head Clinical Development, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories appreciated the role of academia during the pandemic. Addressing the gathering, Dr. Ramakrishna Dasoju, Associate Director-Project Management, Althea DRF Life Sciences and Dr. Syed Khalid Ali, Chief Scientific Officer, Panacea Biotec appreciated the research capabilities of academia especially THSTI. Dr. Pawan Kumar, Senior Manager, Zydus highlighted the various collaborations that the industry has with the academia and highlighted the collaborative efforts of Zydus and THSTI in the development of ZyCovD vaccine.

Post presentations, there were deliberations on the academia-industry collaborations. Representatives from industries thanked the GOI for the support given to them during the pandemic that helped them to develop and bring various vaccines to Indian market. Summing up the discussions, Prof Pramod Garg said that more such collaborations are the need of hour and with the supportive leadership of GOI these collaborations will have fruitful outcomes for the society.