Chennai : For the purpose of setting up a common drug testing laboratory (DTL) in the Union territory mainly to conduct stability study, the pharma entrepreneurs in Pondicherry has formed a cluster to avail the benefits of the subsidy scheme, “Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Industry (SPI)” launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals.

The scheme is envisaged to meet the expectations of the pharma MSMEs and MedTech industries to upgrade their facilities and technologies with a view to make India a global leader in the pharma sector. A cluster of industries is entitled to receive the benefits, so we have formed a cluster to strengthen our capacity and set up one sophisticated laboratory to conduct stability study, said E. Sreenivasan, secretary of the Pondicherry Drug Manufacturers Association (PDMA).

While briefing Pharmabiz about the cluster formation, the secretary of the PDMA said the association comprises 60 plus pharma MSMEs which need a common facility for conducting stability testing which is integral for developing new pharmaceutical products and APIs. The cluster is known as ‘Pondicherry Testing and Research Laboratories (PTRL).’ He said the lab will meet the testing and stability study requirements of all the drug manufacturers in the UT.

He said all the manufacturing units in the union territory are having the export potential and the cluster will strengthen production of pharmaceutical formulations, development of Ayush products, manufacturing of medical devices, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and pharma excipients. The 60 plus industrial units will jointly work together to develop the cluster to support the pharma sector.  Seventy per cent of the total expenditure will be met by the central government through financial assistance and 30 per cent will be borne by the entrepreneurs.

Regarding the state government’s project for a pharma park, Sreenivasan said PDMA is providing full support to the government to realise the project as early as possible. He said the cluster, PTRL, will help the government to speed up the pharma park project. The drug manufacturers have identified an ideal place to establish the laboratory and informed the health secretary to support it for a speedy realization.

Meanwhile, the entrepreneurs have held discussions with the authorities of the state owned Mahatma Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Dental Sciences for a space to establish the lab at its premises. An unutilised floor in one of the buildings of the dental college has been found suitable for setting up the laboratory. The matter has been shared with the health secretary also.

“PTRL has already applied for the lab. It will be a fully equipped drug testing laboratory complying with all the GLP norms. We have coordinated with the Dean of the dental college and visited the place. The available unutilized area of the institution will be sufficient for our project and we would like to use the place with plug and play arrangements,” he said.

U Ananda Krishnan, the drug controller of the UT said the drug testing lab to be set up by the industry under the central SPI scheme will support the pharma park project which is progressing. All groundwork has been completed to get the approval of the Central government and it is expected anytime from now. He said the pharma park is developed on 100 acre land. The PDMA’s testing lab will be set up at the Mahatma Gandhi Dental College. The pharmaceutical entrepreneurs, along with the government, will send one detailed proposal to the department of pharmaceuticals before next month and it will comprise all components of the lab, he told Pharmabiz.