(By Temitope Obayendo)
Rising from its one-day pharmaceutical industry business summit, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has expressed its interest in partnering with pharmaceutical firms in Nigeria, with the aim of identifying major industry research needs, as well as collaborating with the concerned firms to meeting such needs.
The NIPRD –pharmaceutical industry business summit, which took place at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, on the 20th June, 2013, took the form of an interactive session, where the management of NIPRD displayed its achievements over two decades to stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, and also assured them of the availability of new state-of-the-art facilities for optimal output.
Speaking on the occasion, themed: “Linking research and development with the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria”, Prof. Martins Emeje, a director at NIPRD, stated other objectives of the summit which include, “to showcase NIPRD’s capacity and will to develop innovation for commercialisation by pharmaceutical firms; to interact and arrive at best-case models for research-industry partnerships in Nigeria; to secure collaborative partnerships for NIPRD’s innovations and products for other innovations in public research organisations; and to identify and establish networks for future pharmaceutical research collaborations.”
He further noted that a key function of NIPRD, as enshrined in the Act of its establishment in 1989 is “to apply appropriate modern science and technology resources to stimulate local production of drugs through effective collaboration with the industry and experts within and outside Nigeria.”
He however decried the low turnout in the area of local drug production and effective collaboration with the industry and experts within and outside Nigeria, which he described as few and far below expectation.
“The most significant being the development, in 2001 of NIPRISAN, a prophylactic drug used in the management of sickle cell anemia. This particular achievement was made possible by the successful collaboration with an industry actor from North America.”
He said, with this development, it connotes that the adaptive capacity of the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry to research output is low. He thereafter urged the stakeholders to be optimistic because there is room for strategic partnership between them and NIPRD. “The optimism is based on the present need for innovation within the industry and the huge market potential for such innovations.”
The NIPRD director, who hinted on the collaborative framework, listed the areas of collaboration to include: “formulation – thisis in the area of dosage form design and formulary development; reformulation with a view to improving the release and other properties of dosage forms, such as ease of administration; drug discovery – involves technology/technique transfer, with a view to transferring the results of NIPRD drug discovery activities to the industry for commercialisation; quality assessment –NIPRD should carry out a number of studies that would determine the quality of drug formulations. These include pharmacokinetics, interactions and bioequivalence, and analytical method development.”
Fielding questions from journalists at the event, the director general of NIPRD, Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, said the institute was capable of providing the required human and technical needs for the industry to operate.
Gamaniel said, “NIPRD is ready to set the stage in eliminating communication limitations with the stakeholders in the industry, and create a sustainable platform for dialogue, networking and hopefully, strategic partnership.
“The report of a recent analysis by Enhancing Nigeria for a Better Business Environment (ENABLE) on the institute revealed that there is room for strategic partnership between certain actors in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry.”