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Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacology

Historic background

The medicinal chemistry research was initiated in the late 1950s in a modest way. This division has a unique distinction of discovering new hypnotic drug methaqualone [Dr I K Kacker and Dr Syed Hussain Zaheer], however it was lost to Boots Pharmaceuticals. Later in late 1970s Medicinal Chemistry Division developed a new analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug enfenamic acid (Dr Riaz Hasim and Dr P B Sattur). This happens to be the first synthetic drug developed in the country. This drug was marketed with trade name Tromaril by M/s Unichem Laboratories, Mumbai.

Research for new molecules continued in this Division (Dr Ahmed Kamal and Dr P B Sattur, 1985) and a number of compounds went up to Phase I and Phase II clinical trials like 2-carbamoyloxy ethyl benzoate (4003/2) as a substitute of Aspirin sponsored by Rallis India Ltd. In addition this research group (Dr T Ramalingam and Dr P B Sattur) developed 3-pentadecyl phenol [cashew nut shell liquid] based new molecules as cholesterol reducing agents in sponsorship with Cadila Laboratories

The Medicinal Chemistry division was strengthened in 1980s by inducting the pharmacology group with necessary facilities to support the new drug development programmes. In the late 1990s research for new anticancer agents was initiated in this Division that lead to several new promising molecules (Dr Ahmed Kamal's research group). Some of the US patents relating to these anticancer agents were licensed in the year 2007 and 2008 to IndUS Pharmaceuticals, USA and these are undergoing pre-clinical studies. These patents were licensed with an upfront fee of US $ 100,000 and the milestone payments of US $ 400,000 apart from royalties on the sales. This Division has one of the largest patents portfolio in CSIR for the new potential anticancer and anti TB agents, as well as in the area of biotechnologies.

Several collaborative projects were carried out with both International and National Pharmaceutical Companies and some of these are: Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Company, Japan; Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Japan; Marubeni-Chemix Corporation, Japan; Smith Klime Bechem, USA; DuPont, USA; and National Pharmaceutical Companies like Ranbaxy Laboratories; Lupin Laboratories; Rallis India Ltd; Cadila Pharmaceuticals; Unichem Laboratories etc. Various collaborative projects with a number of academic institutes have been undertaken and some of the research programmes are: Molecular recognition of DNA (University of Portsmouth, UK); Development of new Phodophyllotoxin based molecules (University of Alberta, Canada); New antitubercular and antimalarial agents (University of Capetown, South Africa); Biomedical solutions for India and UK (Imperial College, London); Development of nanomedicines under UKIERI (Kings College, London); Drug DNA interactions (Greifswald University, Germany);Biocatalysis (University of Wuppertal, Germany); Greeen catalytic processes (King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia); Biological implications of anticancer drugs (University of Michigan, USA); Effect of small molecules on cancer stem cells (Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer [ACTREC-TIFR], Mumbai); Pyrrolobenzidiazepine ligands binding to quadruplex DNA(Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad); Molecular modeling studies (Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and University of Hyderabad).

Technologies developed and transferred

  • Developed potential anti-cancer and anti-tubercular leads which are currently in preclinical studies.
  • Developed various synthetic methodologies following green chemistry protocols for new synthetic transformations.
  • Biotechnology
  • Bio-transformations based technologies using biocatalyst ( enzymes and microorganisms) in developing value added products has been developed and transferred.
  • Fermentation technology- process for production of value added products like Brassylic acid, Acrylic acid, 1-cyanocyclohexane acetic acid, L (+ ) Lactic acid, Vancomycin, Fumagillin has been developed.
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