Researchers at Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have developed a cancer drug that they hope will bring down the cost of an existing drug by half. They plan to apply for a patent in May.
Researchers at Bio-separations and Bioprocessing Laboratory at IIT Delhi have developed Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (GCSF), a drug used to stimulate the production of white blood cells (WBC) in cancer patients undergoing cytotoxic chemotherapy to help them fight infections.
"Once the patent is filed, IIT will approach industry through Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) and auction the technology," said Anurag Rathore, professor in the department of chemical engineering at IIT, Delhi.
"The drug we are working on, GCSF, is an approved drug. We have established bio-similarity to the approved drug via exhaustive analytical testing," said Rathore. One injection vial costs R2,500-R3,000 and the complete treatment costs R1 lakh (approx.) for three rounds of chemotherapy. The cost of one course of GCSF is between $3,000 and $3,800 in the US.
"Since the majority in India do not have health insurance and cannot afford expensive drugs, we hope to bring down the cost by at least by 40-50%. This will still give the company about 10% margin because the production costs will be halved," said Rathore, who heads the team that has been working on this project for over a year.
"IIT has created a high throughput process development platform that enables one to work 50 times faster than traditional experimentation," he said.