FDP-2021 on ‘Interdisciplinary Research Pedagogy’ at KIIT School of Biotechnology
KIIT School of Biotechnology organized Faculty Development Programme-2021. In the wake of this occasion, enlightening lectures were conducted by two distinguished professionals on ‘Interdisciplinary Research & Pedagogy’.
Dr. Ravindra Ghooi, Director, Scientia Clinical Services delivered a talk on ‘Regulatory issues in Biotechnology’. He mentioned genetic manipulations in the laboratory need to be done with caution. Indian Biosafety Knowledge portal has been created by DBT, GoI stating guidelines for the same. There is also a recombinant DNA advisory committee (RDAC) of the Govt. that needs to be consulted for the purpose. Institutional Biosafety committees too ought to be strict and should comprise of institute head, scientists doing DNA work and clinical doctors. There should be state level biosafety regulatory bodies, he added. Besides, clinical trials for drugs need to be strictly regulated, consisting of phase I to III trials before the drug reaches market, and phase IV trials after the drug is in market. Trials should be registered with the Clinical Trial Registry of India. He also spoke in detail about drug safety and adversity.
Session chair Dr. Gopal Chowdhary asked what is the approximate timeline for drug approvals and the speaker answered the process has been expedited considerably since the COVID pandemic set in and currently it takes from 30 to 90 days. While being asked what is the mortality rate for drug trial deaths, the speaker said for oncological or cardiological drug trials, the death rate may be higher, partly due to faster disease progression irrespective of drugs. In cases like dermatological drug trials death is rare. Dr. Bhawna Gupta asked questions about group exclusions in drug trials. The Speaker answered her questions and also discussed about vaccine hesitancy due to ignorance.
Dr. Shesheer Kumar, Director at HUWEL Lifesciences Pvt. Ltd. and SirfBio Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad delivered a talk on ‘Lab to enterprise’. Dr. Shesheer shared his inspiring journey since he started as a junior employee at a Biotech company upto one of the top Biotech entrepreneurs of India. He spoke about how he went on to do a PhD after working for 4 years in the industry because that gave him an edge in the biotech industry workspace. He and his wife Dr. Rachna were the first people to sequence an entire genome in India, that of the Hepatitis C virus, which was unveiled by Dr. Murlimanohar Joshi. Dr. Shesheer has been interviewed by BBC, featured in Doordarshan programmes, founded several companies, won grants from India and abroad. His company made the first Indian Real time PCR machine. He has done tech transfer successfully for numerous biotech products and equipment, in the true ‘Make in India’ spirit. His company HUWEL makes multiplexes for COVID RT-PCR testing, and it is the largest manufacturer of the equipment in India. He concluded his talk by saying “Anybody who aims can be an entrepreneur… this is the right time…”
Dr. Shesheer’s talk shed light on the actual challenges and steps one has to go through in order to be a successful biotech entrepreneur. Dr. Bhawna Gupta asked if there are scopes of collaborating between academia and his company, and Dr. Shesheer agreed. Dean, KSBT, Dr. Srinivas Patnaik said KIIT School Biotechnology would be interested to collaborate with him any time, both for tech transfer as well as industry exposure of the faculty and the students. Session chair Dr. Gopal Chowdhury added KSBT faculty are using the HUWEL equipment in the KIIT TBI COVID testing lab since 2020 and the equipment is of great quality. Dr. Mrunmay Giri and Dr. Subrat Kumar also praised their experience of using HUWEL equipment.