Yajna Prakash, Co-Founder , Executive Director , CMO & Partner - Concept International Business Consulting Pvt Ltd ( CIBC)

Mr. Yajna Prakash is an emerging market strategist – and has been involved in formulating and implementing strategies that not only solve complex issues related to cross-border forays but also provide companies a different paradigm for India – INDIA as a Hub for SE Asia, ME and Africa. Over the last 2 decades, He is leading in operating strategy & implementation solutions that are workable for clients and can attain success in India. He has an strong experience base across multiple sectors ranging from Industrial products, Agri products, Consumer Goods, Building Materials, Mining, Technology, Health Care services. Mr. Yajna has rich experience in strategy consulting for international companies entering India, organically, vide cross border transactions (M&A/ SPV/ JVs), executive search, virtual operations and technology licensing.He has serviced more than 450 multi-national clients and directly signed contracts with over 250 American, European, Chinese and Australian companies. Responsible for over $ 6 Bn worth of investments into India till date from clients serviced and acquired.

 

Pitching for therapeutics In October of 2020, I was in two minds – the scientific community was divided too – the vaccines are coming, why do you need a therapeutic? Dr Paul and members of Niti Ayog told me encouragingly,  get an Indian – International partnership we will be quick to bless.I took a back seat – the vaccines were around the corner. 

A fail safe Corona vaccine ( that could neutralize all the mutants of the viruses may not be available soon) as the virus continues to mutate. (AstraZeneca vaccines have been  less than 10% efficacious  against the south African variant),  Other therapeutic modalities must become the second pillar to comprehensively bring the virus to a manageable level.  After billions and 3 decade of research HIV and Malaria have medicines that can cure or support life but without vaccines.

Think like the virus – Over 5 billion people are going to get vaccinated ( unprecedented in VIROL0GY )the virus will be subjected to an immense selective immune pressure and thus will mutate. With 15% vaccinated so far in India – we see so many mutants (B1:617:1 (Similar to SA variant); B1:617:2 that are a lot worse than any that have seen before. The virus is fighting to survive. With slow vaccination the virus has a lot of time to mutate. We are behind the virus in absence of a vaccine that can neutralizing all forms of mutants. Imagine the task of vaccinating 1 billion people in India every year with boosters– horrendous. Variants that will escape the vaccine efficacy, will be dangerous, and virulent and we should be able to squash them as soon as they arrive (no mechanism exist currently – we have seen this in April).  

The April WAR ARENA MAY BE JUST A PRELUDE TO What’s COMING. Variant that is affecting children may be around the corner. USA, Israel, Russia  and China are looking at this pandemic strategically and planning for the future – creating a safety net against Chemical, Biological, warfare. There is need to prospectively protect the Medical practitioners, social workers and Defense forces. The COVID spread being a prelude to a biological warfare may not be restricted to movies.US Department of Defense (DOD) has granted over 30 Mn to a  biotechnology company Immunome for the development of an antibody cocktail based on “ COVID-19 super responders”. Col Ryan Eckmeier said. “We believe this process can not only be a solution for the current pandemic, but if successful, could also provide our nation with a method to quickly respond to other novel outbreaks. 

 A comprehensive therapeutic seems to be a high priority for the rest of the world – as an alternate platform to vaccine, rapidly tunable to the new variants, and easier to manufacture at multiple locations (vaccine facilities are difficult). Also for vulnerable patients, such as the immune compromised patients (e.g., organ transplant, cancer patients) who may not derive any meaningful benefit from vaccines. 55 doctors are dying in India everyday (IMA data) – 100 times that number are getting infected. What if a double mutant is injected over the defense establishments? (ISRO is watching for spikes) are we prepared will India catchup ?

 Therapeutic offering is that they can be used for treatment as well as prophylactic,  scientifically designed to significantly lower the chances of infection, its effects and virulency whereas Vaccines are only prophylactic (Doses can be different though). Remdesivir, Ivermectin and the likes cannot be given as prophylactic (they are toxic and can kill). Regeneron – published a prophylactic study for their therapeutic product (at 1/3 of the dose). This approach are being pursued by Eli Lily /Abcellera, Adagio Therapeutics, Regeneron, Immunome,  Vir/ GSK. They are in different stages of clinical trials – what’s heartening is that they have showcased excellent data and results on South African, UK, Brazil and Californian variants and Immunome has considered the India variant in its trials (probably because its CEO has Indian heritage)

  • Eli Lily / Abcellera has An antibody targeting variants, where data showed that LY-CoV1404 can neutralize all currently known variants, including the UK (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1), California (B.1.426 and B.1.429). (NO STUDY OF THE INDIAN VARIANT) “our antibody therapies that can be developed in real time to combat the virus as it evolves,” said Bo Barnhart, scientific director at AbCellera. 
  • Adagio Therapeutics is developing antibodies that can broadly neutralize SARS-CoV-2, and additional pre-emergent coronaviruses( variants), can prevent symptomatic coronavirus disease. Adagio CEO Tillman Gerngross said “a broadly neutralizing therapy that could be given for both treatment and prevention will be necessary. “Adagio’s antibody, he claimed can provide upto 12 months of protection. 
  • Immunome (antibody cocktail is a combination of three antibodies that Neutralizes South Africa (B.1.351) and UK (B.1.1.7) , Brazil (P.1) and California mutations).  Based on trials our  discovery engine’s can rapidly identify powerful and rare antibodies for inclusion in our antibody cocktail,” said Purnanand Sarma, CEO of Immunome. 

Will India get these Theurapetics – yes if India is a part of this development . Engagement vide clinical studies and then mass scale manufacturing in partnership is the key. Some of the largest antibody manufacturing companies are in India – it is also Easier to Transfer Technology (unlike vaccines) – we need, conduct trials, forge partnerships and start production In India

 

 

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