Govt ties up with GSK Pharma for raising PhD cadre

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 26, 2019

While India is the pharmacy bowl of the world, it suffers from an acute dearth of trained bioinformatics and biostatistics experts, government officials stated on Wednesday. Partnering with GlaxoSmithkline Pharmaceuticals, government-run Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB) is looking to fill up twelve posts for PhD candidates who are bioinformaticians or biostatisticians.

“While 50 per cent of global demand for drugs and 80 per cent of antiretrovirals are met by India, and India is the largest manufacturer of drugs in the world, we cannot say the same for development of new molecules and drug discovery. In order to fill this gap up, we need more trained personnel,” said Sudhanshu Vrati, Executive Director of RCB.

Vrati further said that the current day's computational biologists and bioinformaticians have to work on large sets of data and data modelling methods to understand areas including genomics, genetics, proteomics, metabolism, lipidomics and imaging.

GSK is investing at least ₹5.4 crore to support 12 PhD students over a period of seven years and students with Masters in Statistics will be eligible to apply.

“In existingbioinformatics and biostatistics courses, students lack opportunities to gain experience in statistical programming languages and software such as SAS and R that are commonly used in Pharma .This leads to a weak talent pipeline for the industry, for an area that is high in demand,” said A Vaidheesh, Vice President and MD, GSK Pharmaceuticals.

Vrati said that India is reeling under a shortage of experts. “Because we could not find enough experts to train the PhDs we have built a virtual faculty pool derived from Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi, National Institute of Immunology, National Institute of Biomedical Genomics and Indian Statistical Institute,” said Vrati.

Published on June 26, 2019

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