Is REACH —Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals — going to do for Indian chemicals research what the Y2K did for its IT?
Companies are eyeing a big slice of an emerging business in outsourced work in drug trials and non-clinical research worth billions of dollars following a two-year-old European REACH legislation that requires large manufacturers and importers and keep documentation and information on health and environmental safety issues.
Pre-clinical contract research helps firms develop drugs, while non-clinical work is for similar outsourcing in products like cosmetics, medical devices and pesticides. Industry researcher Kalorama estimates the pre-clinical work alone in 2010 at around Rs 24,000 crore globally with huge potential in non-clinical work as well.
“There will be a business boom for pre-clinical and nonclinical CROs (contract research organisation) in the country as every manufacturer exporting to European Union will be in search of a CRO,” SS Murugan, scientific director at Hyderabad-based RCC Laboratories, said, adding the business was expected to last for a decade from 2011.
RCC and Reliance Life Sciences are investing in people, research and materials to exploit the opportunity. “In the first phase of expansion, Reliance Life Sciences envisages extending in vitro toxicity and physicochemical testing services, which are mandatory for all REACH products,” said K V Subramaniam, president and CEO, Reliance Life Sciences.