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Wellcome Trust and India team up for affordable drugs
  30 July 2010
The Wellcome Trust has extended its alliance with the Government of India?s Department of Biotechnology, this time setting up a 45 million partnership to develop "innovative healthcare products at affordable costs".
This new initiative, which was announced in Delhi during the high-profile visit of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, builds on the existing Wellcome Trust-DBT alliance. That pact is a five-year, 80 million initiative which seeks to strengthen Indian biomedical sciences through a series of fellowship programmes.
The new "R&D for Affordable Healthcare" will bring together researchers from both the public and private sectors, largely working in India, to develop new devices, diagnostics, medicines and vaccines "that will reach the greatest numbers of beneficiaries, without compromising on quality", the partners said. The DTB and the Trust are each contributing 22.5 million to the five-year fund.
Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said "India offers a vibrant and growing biotechnology sector, with a wealth of scientific talent and a skilled workforce to support scientific innovation". He added that the country "can make a huge contribution to solving its own healthcare needs and to global health efforts".
The Wellcome Trust said the new initiative follows "successful piloting of the concept which has a number of awards in the pipeline in areas such as cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis and ophthalmology". It cites one such project between the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad and Sheffield University, to develop and use new biocompatible materials for a stem cell-based therapy to restore sight in eyes where the cornea is damaged by chemical or burns injury.
The partners added that the scheme is now open to applications.
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