Leaders discuss transformational approaches shaping the pharma industry at REPharma Summit 2024, ET HealthWorld

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By Devanshi Dewan & Rashmi Mabiyan

Mumbai: The pharmaceutical landscape of India has seen massive strides in the recent few years with some of the most pertinent reforms, practices and structures that the pharma industry has witnessed. The theme for the 4th edition of the REPharma Summit 2024 aptly titled “Reinvent, Restructure, and Reform” saw many insightful keynote addresses, and panel discussions aimed at facilitating reform and a transformative culture of reinvention within the pharmaceutical ecosystem of India as was emphasised by the industry leaders and experts at the summit organised by ETPharma.

The one-day summit acted as a pivotal space for industry leaders, experts and stakeholders to come under one roof to explore innovative approaches, reforms, roadmaps for cyber security and sustainability for a future-ready Indian pharmaceutical ecosystem. The event garnered support from esteemed associate partners including JLL, and Bry-Air as a supporting partner.

The Guest of Honour, Jitendra Kumar, Managing Director, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council(BIRAC), elucidated research and funding challenges in the Biotech startups industry in India. Addressing a captivated audience, Kumar spoke on how the barriers to entry are huge for biological and pharma start-ups. He emphasised that market forces do not work here as there is no long-term return on investments and there exists a huge gap between the industry and academia. Hence, innovation is lacking.

The summit commenced with a power-packed inaugural session titled ‘Volume-to-Value in the Indian Pharmaceutical Ecosystem’ with Vikrant Shrotriya, Corporate Vice President & Managing Director at Novo Nordisk India Private Limited; Sukanya Choudhury, Executive Vice President Regulatory Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline and Kaushik Desai Secretary General, IPEC as moderator.

“Volume is extremely important. The transition from volume to value is extremely critical.” stated Vikrant Shrotriya, initiating the discussion on the Volume-to-Value in the Indian Pharmaceutical Ecosystem.

Emphasising the use of AI in drug development, Sukanya Choudhury, Executive Vice President – Regulator at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, said, “We have the will to Make in India to Discover in India. We need a strong regulatory structure. We need a single window system, we are on that journey. The use of AI in drug development is used widely. We need to have more conversations on how to leverage AI in manufacturing.”

The first-panel discussion was on the topic “Deploying AI/ML for Drug Discovery & Biotechnology Innovations”. The panelists included Dr Mukesh Kumar, Senior VP and Head, Clinical R&D, Cipla; Dr Shubhadeep Sinha, Senior Vice President, Head – Clinical Development & Medical Affairs (CD&MA), Hetero Labs Limited; Dr Anil Kukreja, Vice President, Medical Affairs and Regulatory, AstraZeneca Pharma India Limited; Narendra Saini, Chief Digital & Data Officer, Lupin; Dr Baskar Viswanathan, Life Science – Business Consulting Officer Agilisium.

Speaking at the panel discussion Dr Anil Kukreja, highlighted that AI and ML can identify the right sites to run clinical trials. He also added that AI algorithms become more reliable and mature with more data.

The Fireside Chat on ‘From Manufacturing to Patient’: Ensuring Seamless Pharma Supply Chains in India’, explored the role of pharma supply chains in making pharma products accessible to the people. Vishwanath Swarup, COO, India Business, Bharat Serums & Vaccines Ltd; Sabina Sawliwala, Chief Procurement Officer, Jaslok Hospital; Rohan Sharma, Director – Office Leasing Advisory, Bangalore & CRM Lead – Lifesciences, India, JLL and Chakravarthi AVPS, Global Ambassador, World Packaging Organisation discussed the role of pharmaceutical industry and the rapid manufacturing rates to meet the demands during the initial phase of COVID.

Sawliwala, highlighted that PPE kits were never heard of which we had to procure in huge numbers. When the whole world was at home, we were at war.”

Sharing his experience, Sharma said, “We have the volume, we have the talent and we have the intent.” He highlighted that research and development is very limited in our country.

The second panel discussion on the topic ‘Quality Metrics Transforming Pharma Manufacturing Practices’, saw eminent speakers like Sudarshan Jain, President, IPA; Shital Pathak, Sr VP – Head Analytical R&D (Formulations), Glenmark; Dr M Damodharan, Chief Quality Officer, Sai Life Sciences Limited; and Alok Mehrotra, Chief Quality Officer, Syngene International Limited were the panelists who spoke on the quality metrics in the pharma industry.

Dr M Damodharan discussed the role of AI in quality metrics and the FDA’s emphasis on more transparency. “FDA is pushing towards more transparency. AI is going to help us with quality metrics,” he added.

Alok Mehrotra underlined the analysis of causes that define quality metrics in pharma manufacturing practices.

Giving his valedictory address at the REPharma Summit, Dr. Rajeev Singh Raghuvanshi, Drugs Controller General of India spoke about the dynamics of the supply chain in the pharmaceutical industry. Emphasising the significance of innovation, Dr Raghuvanshi added, “This country has two extremes of quality, supply chain and AI. We will never be successful if innovation happens in pockets. It has to be a mass movement. Volume to value will only come through innovation.”

The summit concluded with REPharma Awards 2024 which recognised the innovators and change-makers who are driving transformative change and setting new standards of excellence in India’s dynamic pharmaceutical landscape.

  • Published On Jan 22, 2024 at 06:41 PM IST

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