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Korean company to set up Asia's largest cord blood bank in India


Korea's leading stem cell research company Histone, in participation with the government of India, is planning to set up Asia's largest cord blood bank in the country. The company, which is is also scouting for a potential private sector partner in India, has been in talks with few local companies including Reliance Life Sciences, it is learnt.


The umbilical cord blood bank project in the government - private participation is learnt to have been cleared by the Union Health Ministry. Though the total investment of the project and the FDI input within the project is yet to be worked out between the government and the joint venture partners, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) would be playing a key role in the initial process of setting up the cord blood bank, which involves scientific and other related medical and ethical issues, said Dr. N K Ganguly, director general, ICMR.


Dr. Ganguly said that the association of Korean company in setting up this large scale stem cell centre in the country is very vital now as Korea has experimented several innovations in the medical application of the cord blood cells. Also, it is considered as a prestigious collaboration between the two countries in the field of modern medical science. The formal announcement of this project will be made at the 92nd Indian Science Congress being organised at Ahmedabad in January 2005, said Ganguly, while talking to Pharmabiz in Mumbai.


It may be recalled that a team of Korean researchers claimed recently that they had performed a miracle by enabling a patient, who could not even stand up for the last 19 years, to walk with stem cell therapy. The scientists said they had last month transplanted multi-potent stem cells from umbilical cord blood to the 37 year old female patient suffering from a spinal cord injury and she can now walk on her own. For the unprecedented clinical test, the scientists isolated stem cells from umbilical cord blood and then injected them into the damaged part of the spinal cord.


According to Korean scientists the new therapy has a huge upside potential when applied to real treatments, without arousing much ethical disputes. The technology is expected to lead to breakthrough treatments for many had-to-cure disease, for instance, by creating replacement organs and tissues. In comparison, stem cells originating from the blood of umbilical cords would not raise such problems since that blood is routinely discarded after the birth of a baby.


Another upside of cord blood stem cells is that they can adapt to the injected bodies without triggering a big negative inner reaction, which are common in other transplantations. Also it is not necessary to have a strict match between cord blood stem cell type and the immune system of a patient because the latter accepts the former pretty well thanks to its immaturity, say the scientists.


(Ref : CHRONICLE PHARMABIZ Dated December 16, 2004)


Hindustan Signs mktg pact with BD for auto-disable syringes


Hindustan Latex Ltd (HLL), a Government of India Enterprise, and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a global medical technology company and leader in immunization has signed an agreement to jointly manufacture and market auto-disable syringes in India. The collaboration is expected to help prevent the reuse of syringes through the introduction of auto-disable syringes, education and training of healthcare workers, and the implementation of advocacy programmes with the Government of India.


As part of the agreement, BD will manufacture and sell to HLL auto-disable syringes based on BD SoloShot technology for immunization and curative purposes for HLL. HLL will market these immunization syringes under its own brand name, 'AutoLok'. A curative syringe specially designed to prevent reuse, based on BD SoloMeda technology, will also be manufactured by BD and sold to HLL in this agreement. BD, which has a manufacturing facility in Bawal, India, has also agreed to provide certain consulting services to HLL relating to the marketing and sale of the auto-disable and reuse prevention syringes. BD and HLL will also work together to train and educate healthcare workers about safe injection practices and the new technology.


Announcing this at a press conference here on December 16, 2004, Gray Cohen, president, BD Medical said that "BD is proud to enter into this agreement with HLL and applauds the India Health Ministry for taking decisive action against the pervasive problem of unsafe injection practices and the improper reuse of injection devices".


(Ref : CHRONICLE PHARMABIZ Dated December 23, 2004)



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