HYDERABAD India needs to have a system for regulatory data protection as part of national pharma policy to attract basic pharma research of global majors, according to Vas Narasimhan, Chief Executive Officer, Novartis.

He was interacting with newspersons along with the Telangana Industries Minister K T Rama Rao on the sidelines of the 20th Edition of BioAsia 2023, the annual flagship lifesciences event of the state, which began here on Friday.

“India does not have a system to ensure regulatory data protection. When we submit key data, we want it to be protected,” he said.

The national pharma policy needs to be evolved to bring a fundamental drug discovery process to India, Narasimhan said.

Narasimhan, while acknowledging the ‘great work’ done by Indian Drug Regulator in areas such clinical trials, said apart from protection of regulatory data, further streamlining of Intellectual Property (IP) could be taken up.

Hyderabad hub

In Hyderabad, Narasimhan said the operations began about 18 years ago with a few hundred people. “We have doubled the workforce now and brought all core drug development here,” he said. With 9,000 staff on the rolls, Hyderabad is one of the corporate centres for Novartis.

The Global leadership teams of Novartis in IT, finance operate from Hyderabad while over 2,400 work in the drug development division. The growth story of Hyderabad was actually the growth story of the Indian pharma industry in a way, he added.

When asked on the relevance of technological advancements such as AI and ChatGPT, Narasimhan said there is always a need for ‘Augmented Intelligence’ but human factors cannot totally be done away with as results had to be 100 per cent accurate. 

Pharma city

K T Rama Rao said with ample availability of talent in IT and data science, Hyderabad offers a synergy of IT and Biotechnology and ready infrastructure for the industry with necessary approvals to start production in the Genome Valley.

The upcoming Pharma City in Hyderabad would also complete the ecosystem for pharma and life sciences players, he added.