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Tuesday, Mar 12, 2002

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gvk bio partners Ricerca for medicinal chemistry

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GVK bioSciences Pvt Ltd, a drug discovery and development company floated by the Hyderabad-based GVK group, has entered into a three-year global partnership with Ricerca LLC.

Ricerca, based in the US, is a $50-million drug discovery company belonging to the SG (Societe Generale) bank.

The partnership is for setting up medicinal chemistry and discovery biology facility at the ICICI Knowledge Park here, the gvk bio Chief Executive Officer, Mr G.V. Sanjay Reddy, announced at a press conference here on Monday.

Stating that the partnership enabled small molecule drug discovery and development, Mr Reddy said gvk bio would undertake medicinal chemistry and discovery services for Ricerca's clients and also take up jointly owned proprietary discovery programmes.

As per the agreement entered into with gvk bio, the US company would have exclusive worldwide rights to market the gvk bio medicinal chemistry facilities.

In turn, Ricerca would guarantee gvk bio a minimum number of medicinal chemistry contract research projects and provide it with some of its proprietary drug targets or early hits towards the joint drug discovery and development programmes, Mr Reddy said.

Stating that Ricerca guaranteed minimum contracts worth Rs 3 crore for the first year, Mr Reddy, however, declined to disclose the contract details for the next two years.

For its drug discovery and development activities, gvk bio would mainly focus on two segments - anti infectives and oncology - where Ricerca is strong.

gvk bio, with a manpower of 60 now, is setting up the new facility at the ICICI Knowledge Park with 30 scientists with an initial investment of Rs 5 crore.

According to Mr Sanjay Reddy, the company proposes to increase the strength of its professionals to 250 by the year-end and consider pumping in funds to the tune of Rs 50 crore to Rs 100 crore in the next three years depending on the evolving opportunities.

As a part of this, gvk bio would consider approaching the venture capital funds next year and go in for a valuation. The company's paid-up equity currently stands at Rs 1 crore.

"The partnership with Ricerca is a major step for gvk bio towards becoming a research-based biopharmaceutical company, while at the same time addressing the bottleneck in medicinal chemistry,'' Mr Sanjay Reddy said.

Commenting on the development, the Ricerca Chief Executive Officer, Ms Prabh Fernandes, said in a statement: "Having access to gvk bio's large pool of skilled chemists, biology capabilities and facilities mean we can offer better solutions for our discovery clients and more rapidly advance our own discovery and development efforts.''

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