Project Details Research and training in medicinal chemistry in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka: A comprehensive survey to ascertain status and sophistication of faculties, doctorate programs, etc. - Recommendations for a standardized curriculum

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 July 2002
End Date:
31 December 2011
Division Name:
Chemistry and Human Health Division
Division No.:


Survey the status of Medicinal Chemistry Training in South Asia; recommend a comprehensive curriculum to ensure high levels of technological sophistication, implement the state-of the -art syllabus into several new Medicinal Chemistry Training programs in the strategic triad of academia, government and industry and to catalyze co-operation between the laboratories on the subcontinent and selected organizations in the Western industrialized world. A joint task force will harmonize the process and possibly lead to reciprocal exchange visits allied with funding for advanced training for researchers in Medicinal Chemistry


The Indian (and South Asian) pharmaceutical sector has achieved global recognition as a low cost producer of bulk chemicals and formulation products. It is, however, in its infancy regarding the development of internationally patentable New Chemical Entities. This area is receiving increased attention at the highest levels of the government and industry. With the new IPR regime (under GATT and WTO accords) being implemented in 2005, all major pharmaceutical companies in India are experiencing a paradigm shift and have started soliciting strategic partnerships with Western companies to accelerate the introduction of new molecules for emerging markets, as well as selected global niche positions. The R&D thrust, is focused on development of new drugs and innovative/indigenous processes for known drugs. Academic and government institutions have also announced ambitious plans to be in the forefront of research; building of facilities and recruitment of personnel has been initiated.

This ambitious program has been hampered and thwarted by the lack of highly skilled scientists trained in the art and science of medicinal chemistry. Recruiting of personnel in this field is heavily dependent on recruiting scientists living abroad. There is a dearth of faculty and courses in medicinal chemistry; research and training opportunities are thwarted by high degree of fragmentation in various degree programs. Industry has to resort to “on the job training ” of organic chemists.

Our soon to be completed survey highlights many of these issues and focuses on the training activities that need to be undertaken by industry to meet its insatiable demands. We have developed a high quality “Standard Curriculum in Medicinal Chemistry” that could be implemented as a standardized curriculum in academic institutions. This will be a valuable step towards ensuring a cadre of scientists trained in the field; the IUPAC imprimatur will guarantee a uniformly high standard of sophistication. Funding will be applied from Govt. agencies and industry for sabbatical visitors from Asia to collaborate with their counterparts in the industrial West.