TRDDCON 2023 Organized by MCOPS as a DJC Event

November 04, 2023


TRDDCON 2023, organized by Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, MAHE, as a part of its Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, during 2-4 November 2023 was an amazing conference that brought together knowledge and innovation in the field of pharmaceutical research. This three-days conference was jointly organized by the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry headed by Dr Suvarna G Kini, Pharmacology led by Dr K Nandakumar, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology headed by Dr Raghu Chandrashekar H and Pharmacognosy led by Dr Richard Lobo. Dr Narayana Sabhahit, Pro-Vice Chancellor [Technology & Science], MAHE; Principal of MCOPS, Dr C Mallikarjuna Rao, Vice Principal, Dr Krishnamurthy Bhat and other dignitaries were present during the inaugural function. Dignitaries lighted the lamp and offered a floral tribute to the founder, Dr TMA Pai. Chief Guest of the inaugural, Dr Sabhahit,  highlighted the intersection of research and technology, and emphasized the societal benefits of translational research. He lauded MCOPS for its active role in research enhancement. Dr Nandakumar K, Professor and Head, department of Pharmacology and the coordinator of the conference proposed the vote of thanks, acknowledging the dignitaries, faculty members, organizing team, delegates, and event sponsors for their invaluable contributions. Over 150 delegates from various pharmacy colleges across the country attended the function.

Ms Raksha and Ms Anusha, research scholars, department of Pharmacology anchored the inaugural function of TRDDCON 2023. Ms Ishani Roy, PharmD student, rendered the invocation.

The opening speaker was Dr Ajay Pràkash, Associate Professor, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh who spoke on Drug Development Process and Current Indian Scenario. Dr Prakash discussed the drug discovery process, emphasizing its evolution since 1999 and its current status in 2023. Dr Prakash's talk provided a comprehensive overview of the drug discovery journey, from inception to market, with a focus on India's contributions and the complexities involved in ensuring safety and efficacy.

The next talk by Dr Srinivas Seekallu, Head- Preclinical Research, Test Facility Management, Anthem Biosciences Pvt. Ltd. Bengaluru provided a succinct overview of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) in the pharmaceutical industry. He stressed upon the importance of meticulous documentation in the synthesis and testing of molecules, particularly in the context of non-clinical studies. Dr Seekallu spoke on the key elements of GLP, emphasizing the significance of practices that are attributable, legible, contemporaneous, original, and accurate (ALCOA+).

Dr Ashok Shenoy, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, KMC Mangalore, chaired both the sessions.

Scientific deliberation in oral and poster formats were carried out in the post lunch session of Day 1 of TRDDCON 2023. Students and educators, driven by their passion for learning, participated wholeheartedly, creating an enthusiastic atmosphere throughout the conference hall at Interact lecture halls, KMC, Manipal. The presentations covered a wide array of categories such as Pharmacology and Toxicology, Formulation, Translational and Clinical Drug Development, Drug Design and Synthesis, Concept and Review Papers, and Drug Discovery from Biological/Natural Sources; each reflecting the diverse facets of pharmaceutical research.

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The second day began with a talk by Dr Mohamed Rafiq, Head, Discovery Sciences - R&D Himalaya Wellness Company, Bengaluru. Dr Rafiq presented a comprehensive talk on the opportunities and challenges in drug development from botanicals, emphasizing the significance of natural sources such as plants. His talk emphasized the significance of harnessing natural products for therapeutic advancements while acknowledging the complexities and hurdles in this field.

Following the first talk, Dr Pritesh Bhat, Principal Scientist, Schrodinger, Bengaluru, delivered an insightful talk on drug molecule discovery using the Schrödinger platform, covering the entire pipeline from target validation to lead optimization. The platform excels in cost, quality, and time efficiency compared to traditional drug design methods. Dr Bhat highlighted Schrödinger's track record in rapidly identifying potent, soluble, and permeable compounds crucial for therapeutic drug development. Overall, Schrödinger emerges as a fast and invaluable tool in the intricate landscape of therapeutic drug compound identification.

Dr Abdul Ajees Abdul Salam, Associate Professor, DAMP, MAHE chaired both these sessions.

Following tea break, Dr Jeyaraj D A, Vice-President and Head, Discovery Chemistry, Jubilant Biosys Limited, Bengaluru led an impactful talk on Antiviral Drug Discovery, emphasizing the urgency post-COVID to address viral infections. The talk elucidated the multidisciplinary nature of drug discovery, starting with target identification and progressing through hit molecule screening, utilizing high throughput screening, AI, and natural products and provided valuable insights into the challenges and progress in antiviral drug discovery.

Dr Abhijeet Rajendra Joshi, Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacy, BITS Hyderabad delivered an insightful talk on neuropathic pain, focusing on novel mechanisms and therapeutic targets, with a specific emphasis on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Drawing from a scientific paper, he demonstrated how disruption of the node of Ranvier contributes to neurological diseases. His research not only shed light on the pathology but also explored potential therapeutic interventions, showcasing promising results in animal models.

Sessions were chaired by Dr Somasish Ghosh Dastidar, Assistant Professor, Molecular Neurosciences, KMC, MAHE, Manipal.

During the afternoon session, Dr Bikash Medhi, Professor at PGIMER, Chandigarh delivered an illuminating talk on India's progress towards achieving OECD Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) and striving for pharmaceutical excellence. The talk explored India's pharmaceutical ecosystem, encompassing infrastructure, manufacturing, and domestic demand. Dr Medhi delved into Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) in India, outlining its history since its inception in 1991. He detailed the formation of the National GLP Compliance Monitoring Authority (NGCMA), a collaboration between Indian and foreign test facilities, and discussed NGCMA's activities. Dr Medhi's talk not only underscored India's pharmaceutical prowess but also illuminated the vital role of GLP and MAD in ensuring global standards and credibility in the industry. Dr Raviraja N S, Professor and Coordinator, MCBR, MAHE chaired the session.

Dr Bikash Medhi conducted an insightful workshop on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with a focus on the role of Quality Assurance (QA) in their development and review. The workshop provided valuable insights into the meticulous process of SOP creation, underscoring the critical role of QA in upholding quality and adherence to protocols within an organization.

The third and final day of TRDDCON 2023 commenced with a talk by Dr Anand P Kulkarni, Senior Principal Scientist & Head, Scientific Directorate at CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow on "New Drug Discovery and Development in Independent India," illustrating India's transformative journey from a non-existent pharmaceutical industry in British India to becoming the third-largest globally. He emphasized the pivotal role of CSIR, detailing its inception, COVID contributions, and expansive branches. The talk concluded with a call for continued fundamental research, innovative drug discovery, and strategic alignment to address evolving challenges.

Dr R Govindarajan, Head R&D at Zydus Wellness, Ahmedabad, Gujarat presented a comprehensive overview of challenges and opportunities in the herbal drug industry. He highlighted the rich history of herbal drugs in India, dating back 4000 years, with 70% of the population still relying on them. Dispelling the notion that herbal drugs are inherently economical, he explored the evolution of drug modification, discovery, and development.

The session was chaired by Dr K P Guruprasad, Associate Director-Research & HoD, Department of Ageing Research

Dr Praveen Kumar N, Clinical Research Manager at nference, Indiqube, Bengaluru elaborated on the nferX Platform's role in accelerating translational drug discovery. The foundation lies in literature-based evidence, patient-level evidence, and molecular evidence. Dr Kumar explained a hypothesis-free approach to identifying drug-to-target and target-to-drug relationships using deep learning models on public data.  A live demo showcased the nferX database. Dr Kumar emphasized evidence reinforcement, biological and clinical rationale, and empirical validation as pillars of robust translational drug discovery with nferX.

The last talk of the conference was by Dr Ashok Godavarthi CEO of Radiant Research Services Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru. His presentation explored the "Impact of In Vitro Models in Cosmetic and Consumer Care Product Research" explored the multifaceted realm of cosmetic products. The discussion unfolded across six categories, encompassing facial, hair, eye, dental, oral cavity cosmetics, and miscellaneous cosmetics. Dr. Godavarthi's talk underscored the transformative impact of in vitro models on understanding, developing, and ensuring the safety of cosmetic and consumer care products in a dynamic and competitive landscape.

This session was chaired by Dr Surulivel Rajan M, Head, Department of Pharmacy Practice, MCOPS.

The Valedictory function of TRDDCON 2023 was hosted by Research Scholars, Ms Pragnya and Ms Akshatha, commencing at 2:30 p.m. During the welcome address, Dr Suvarna Kini, the Joint Secretary, emphasized that the conference had been a remarkable journey of knowledge, collaboration, and innovation, focusing on the invaluable theme of "Translation Research in Drug Development”. Dr K Nandakumar, the Organizing Secretary, provided a comprehensive overview of TRDDCON 2023. He highlighted the uniqueness of the conference, which was entirely organized by Research Scholars with active faculty guidance, aiming to move beyond conventional textbooks. Dr Nandakumar proudly announced the participation of 160 delegates, showcasing around 16 oral presentations and over 100 poster presentations under various categories. The conference's success was attributed to the support of 25 different sponsoring agencies, which facilitated awards for the best oral and poster presentations.

The Chief Guest, Dr Chiplunkar, shared motivating stories. Dr Mallikarjuna Rao, the Principal of MCOPS, took the opportunity to felicitate the core team members of the organizing committee, acknowledging their dedicated efforts. A heartfelt moment arrived when Ms Sandra Ross, a delegate from M S Ramaiyah College, Bengaluru, shared her honest feedback and expressed gratitude to the organising committee and faculty members for making her TRDDCON experience truly memorable.

Dr Rao then presented a memento to the Chief Guest to appreciate his presence and contribution. The anticipation mounted as the winners of the oral and poster presentations were announced by Dr Alex Joseph, Head of the scientific Committee. Ms Sandra Ross from M S Ramaiah College received the 1st Prize, while Dr Jayesh Mudgal, Associate Professor at MCOPS, MAHE, was awarded the 2nd Prize. Best poster prizes were awarded for various winners under each category comprising of 11 best posters and 2 consolation prizes.

The event concluded with vote of thanks proposed by Dr Raghu Chandrashekar, followed by harmonious rendition of the National Anthem, uniting all in a final note of celebration.

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