Biotech is a segmented industry, plus many activities come and its ambit-businesses in the arena desire high-quality assets with strong patents that address the unmet needs of patients. BIR AC (under the Department of Biotechnology), has been playing a role in nurturing early-stage and some innovation-oriented biotech firms, since around 2010.
There are less than a handful of venture capital funds that support such companies. Though the number of bio-tech companies has expanded over the past decade, funding continues to be a significant challenge for innovation-focused biotech companies when firms that do not invest in the generation of intellectual property (IP).
Despite the lack of a nurturing ecosystem, Curadev established itself as a prominent player in new drug discovery arena and its success has highlighted India’s early drug discovery capabilities. “Premier global pharma companies have licensed our novel compounds. This is a recognition that Indian pharma has strengths in innovation that lie beyond generic formulations, API manufacturing, and contract research,” says Arjun Surya, Co-Founder & CEO, Curadev.
Curadev is known for prescient target selection and high-quality, program execution. The firm’s research programs are ambitious and tackle complex problems by looking for modulators of early-stage drug targets with little or no chemistry precedence and nascent knowledge of pharmacology.
Curadev generally avoids me-too or fast-follower approaches. Its strength in identifying promising drug targets is strongly associated with its penchant for scientific literature and research conferences, both of which rely heavily on academic research. It focuses on building a fundamental understanding of the disease areas and establishing clinically translatable research programs that will come up with new medicines.
“We find that our culture of letting science do the talking allows us to find common ground and build alliances with fine scientists in leading institutions across the world," says Manish Tandon, Co-Founder & CFO.
Curadev’s partnering track re-cord indicates that it has met the expectations of its clients and partners. Curadev has been nimble, and agile in its operational philosophy which has enabled it to maintain a high pace of re-search activity, has nurtured creativity, passion and independent thinking by avoiding rigid hierarchies in its internal interactions.
Conviction has been key to maintaining motivational levels while navigating biotech drug discovery's steep and uncertain terrain. Relationships within Curadev’s executive and leadership team go back for more than a decade, enabling an open and frank atmosphere that nurtures creativity and encourages independent thinking. The organization sees critical thinking and shared goals as the pillars of communication and collaboration.
Indian pharma has strengths in innovation that lie beyond generic formulations, API manufacturing and contract research
‘We work by building a consensus on strategies and this approach has helped us achieve high levels of conviction and overcome daunting odds,’ says Arjun Surya, CEO, Curadev.
Over the past decade, Curadev has evolved from a company with nascent ideas to one with advanced pre-clinical assets headed for human clinical trials. This transition increases the complexity of operations and the firm has focused on addressing its new goals while retaining the nimbleness and agility which have served the organization so well.
In 2016 Curadev expanded its footprint outside India to shore up its innovation strengths and access pre-clinical development capabilities. This year the firm is set to continue this path by expanding its reach into the US and EU clinical trial space.