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‘Medical devices sector is likely to grow over the next few years’

Researchers and scientists came together at a seminar sponsored by DST-SERB and organised by Apeejay Stya University to discuss ongoing research on medical devices and the future of nanomedicine

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Apeejay Stya University (ASU) organised a conference that saw eminent experts from the field talk on the theme ‘Nanomedicine and Medical Devices in Healthcare’, sponsored by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), DST, Government of India.

“India is a leader in the Pharmaceutical sector, and we have proved it by producing, very timely and very early, two Covid-19 vaccines. Availability of medicines at affordable prices and good infrastructure including medical devices play a very important role. We all have in our lives seen and realised the importance of healthcare. We have to really ensure that there is fair play and a strong regulatory mechanism in this area,” said Professor Raj S Dhankar, Vice Chancellor, Apeejay Stya University (ASU) while addressing the audience.

The Dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr Anupama Diwan stated, “We have to master both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. We believe in the holistic development of students with a continuous focus on education and research activities. I am certain that the seminar will be a remarkable way of learning, innovation, and networking.”

Eight speakers made presentations on their respective fields of expertise at the seminar. The first speaker was Professor Alok R Ray, Ex-Consultant Professor, School of International Biodesign, All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi, who gave an overview of his work in the development of medical devices in the country. “Given the very favourable demographics, the rapidly expanding technology base, and increasing venture capital flow into India, it is anticipated that a major “medtech” industry will develop in India over the next few years if a suitable ecosystem is created. The main requirements of this ecosystem are trained manpower and new concepts in the area of medical devices and implants.

“At present, we are manufacturing most of the base material used for these devices, but we are not producing any of these medical devices. One of the major lacunas is the trained manpower in this sector,” he said. “Most of the polymers that are used in medical devices are made in India. But we do not produce the final product because people from various fields like pharmaceutical, hardware, bioelectronics, nanodevices, etc, do not work together so much. They all must work in tandem to produce medical devices.”

Dr Vivekanandan Kalaiselvan, Senior Principal Scientific Officer, Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission, Ghaziabad, talked about “Materiovigilance Programme of India: Roles and responsibilities of Pharmacy professionals” while elaborating on the role of Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission that obtains scientific data, analyses and communicates it to the regulating authority. Now, all medical devices are regulated by Central Drug Standard Control Organisation. Under the Medical Devices Rule of 2017, all medical devices are approved as drugs, he said.

Delving into the growing startup ecosystem, Dr Manish Diwan, Head-Strategy Partnership & Entrepreneurship, Development BIRAC, Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India, highlighted how his organisation is inculcating a “culture of biotech entrepreneurship” through flagship schemes and other funding provisions. BIRAC also promotes faculty entrepreneurship through Promoting Academic Research Conversion to Enterprise (PACE).

Dr Arvind Bansal, Professor of Pharmaceutics, NIPER, Mohali, Chandigarh, spoke on nanocrystals—the approaches used for its generation and its various applications. His presentation focused on NanoCrySP, a “novel “bottom-up” spray drying based method to generate solid particles containing API nanocrystals dispersed in non-polymeric excipients.”

Dr Dhiraj Kumar Chopra, Vice President & Head Sterile R&D, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, spoke on the key factors considered in polymer selection for drug delivery system, the importance of managing the rate of polymer degradation, use of polymers for depot injections that are non-toxic, controlled erosion, biocompatible, etc, factors influencing degradation behaviour, and a market overview of depot injections. “We should not get baffled by the failures that we may face while working with complex delivery systems but should work with perseverance and passion to provide the systems worldwide,” he said while concluding his presentation.

The next session had Professor Bansi D Malhotra, DST-SERB (Science & Engineering Research Board, Govt of India) Distinguished Fellow & Adjunct Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Delhi Technological University (DTU), who spoke about how nanomaterials-based conducting paper can be helpful in the development of biomolecular electronic devices like biosensors for cancer detection. A biosensor is an analytical device that converts a biological response into a measurable signal via a transducer.

Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer & Director SteerLife India Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, spoke on the topic “Hot Melt Extrusion- Pharmaceutical product development and manufacturing”. The final presentation was made by Dr Kanchan Kohli, Director (Research & Publication), Faculty of Pharmacy, Llyod Institute of Management and Technology Knowledge Park II, Greater Noida, who spoke about the future of nanomedicine.

The conference proceedings were released in the form of a souvenir book. Prizes for the Best Scientific Poster presentation were also awarded. The day ended with a promise to meet the following year with the fourth National Seminar. 

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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