♣ Apollo invests Rs 70 cr in stemcell research

BS Reporter / Chennai/ Hyderabad August 17, 2010, 0:45 IST

The Apollo Hospitals Educational and Research Foundation (AHERF) has firmed up its stem cell research collaboration with US-based StemCyte, investing $15 million (Rs 70 crore) in the 50-50 venture. This is the first of Apollo’s four new research initiatives, and will be carried out by a 12-member team at its Hyderabad facilities.

The other three areas are developing treatments using traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Homoeo and Siddha, exploring significance of genetic factors in cardio vascular disease (CVD) and the use of mobile phone and information technologies in healthcare. The research on CVD predisposition among Indians will begin in September at four of its hospitals including Hyderabad, and would be done in collaboration with two public sector institutes.

Apollo group chairman Prathap C Reddy told reporters here on Monday that funding was not a problem and that AHERF had obtained recognition of the Department of Science as a research organisation, making it eligible for government funding. “For each of these programmes, we can get different partners. We will take funding from government agencies like the Department of Biotechnology.”

Reddy said the stem cell venture would have Ahmedabad-based pharma company Cadila as a back-end partner and would work on regenerative therapies for spinal injury, cardiac and cerebral stroke.

AHERF has a similar, already operational partnership with Quintiles of US, under which it has started Phase I clinical trials and is awaiting approval for its first-in-human studies. Apollo invested $10 million in this 40-60 venture.



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