First visit of DG-ICMR to NCLAS on 2nd September 2015

The proposal is made at a time when India has become an important region for biomedical research and drug development significant amount of drug discovery work is taking place and problems of non infectious life style diseases like CVD, T2D, Cancers, PCOS and obesity are growing exponentially and increasing threat from the emerging historical diseases like Tuberculosis and several new diseases such as Ebola, Zika, AIDS, SARS, H1N1 etc. They are a big burden for the country’s economy. Combating the challenges caused from these diseases or conditions and many others, a number of new drugs and new generation vaccines have been developed and many are in the pipe lines. Even mapping of human genome has put spurs to the drug discovery process resulting in increased number of new drug targets and increased in several folds of candidates for testing in the last decade.

As part of mandatory regulatory requirements, all these molecules are to be subjected to the preclinical toxicity studies for their safety, efficacy and toxicity in rodents and non-rodent species. Under the current statutory requirements of the country, animals caught from the wild or animal taken from unregistered organisations or bred in conventional colonies cannot be used for pre-clinical investigations as they may harbour unknown infectious agents. Experiments performed on such subjects are likely to give erroneous results leading to loss of valuable time and resources.  Therefore, huge demand has been generated for specific pathogen free and in-house breed animal models non rodents and rodents including transgenic & knockout animal models.

Though few institutions have small animal facilities which house only few species of animals to fulfil their own requirements and many do not have facilities for housing large animals. Due to lack of accredited testing facilities in the country especially on pathogen free large or small animals and specialized strains of laboratory animal models, many of the biotech and bio-pharma companies are going out of the county for undertaking testing trials for products.

Therefore, the need was felt for such a facility specifically to cater the needs of the R&D units of the government as well as Pharma & Biotech industries in the country was felt by the scientific community. Concerns have also been expressed in several meetings of Indian National Science Academy, All India Biotech Association, Indian Pharmaceutical Society and Ministries of Govt. of India like Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Science and technology, Dept. of Biotechnology, Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers etc and finally ICMR has created the facility. A proposal has been submitted to create a one stop solution for all research resources at one place. It was decided to establish National Animal Resource facility for Biomedical Research following discussions taking consent with stakeholders both private and Government organizations in a meeting held in Hyderabad on 23rd January, 2003. ICMR developed a detailed project report (DPR) and submitted a EFC proposal. to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Planning Commission.

The proposal was granted in-principle approval from the Planning Commission on 8th Nov, 2007. Since then the EFC proposal was revised several times based on the comments received from various concerned Departments & Ministries of Government of India. EFC has given its approval in its meeting held on 13th August, 2014 in the department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. Finally the Cabinet committee headed by the Prime Minister of India has given the approval in its meeting held on 18th Nov, 2015 DHR has given the sanction order on 3rd December 2015. ICMR notified the formation of NARF-BR as the 33rd Institute of ICMR and appointed me as the first Director In-charge on 1st January 2016.

The decision of formation of this institute by the Government of India will enormously contribute for progress of our country’s economy and shift towards improvement of overall health care paradigm of our population.