Episode 06: Responding to market forces in infectious diseases

Episode 06: Responding to market forces in infectious diseases

An interview with Dr. Vasan Sambandamurthy

Do not let yourself be tainted with a barren skepticism.

-Louis Pasteur

Welcome to IDRFSpeaks - a podcast about infectious diseases in India. In this episode of IDRF Speaks we spoke to Dr Vasan Sambandamurthy, Senior Vice President - Global Strategy & Operations, Bugworks : “a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company is harnessing the power of science to develop affordable, accessible, novel therapies against infectious diseases and cancer”. Dr. Sambadamurthy started his career as a medical microbiologist, working on Tuberculosis and the development of an MTB vaccine candidate. His career has spanned academia and industry. He had worked with multinational Pharmaceuticals such as Novartis and Astrazeneca and Biotech companies in India - Biocon and Syngene. He was briefly the CEO of the India Alliance - DBT-Wellcome Trust - that funds biomedical research in India. I was as an India Alliance Early Career Fellow when I first interacted with Dr. Sambadamurthy.

Dr. Vasan Sambadamurthy

In this interview we speak about the vaccine candidates for TB (auxotrophic mutants) that he worked on and the challenges in TB research including setting up clinical trials (for the first 15 min or so). We then discuss the challenges of treating TB - drug resistance in TB and consequences of long drug regimens, as well as new drugs in the pipeline.

In the next half an hour, we speak about the development of new antibiotics (push and pull incentives) - cost of antimicrobial development Anti Microbial Resistance and the publications on the Global Burden of Disease datasets, innovation in the antimicrobial discovery phase, the societal value of antibiotics and incentives to develop antibiotics - the broken market -and the somewhat new revenue guarantee financial models that are being trialled across the world now- the subscription model that is being trialled in the UK and a trial reimbursement model in Sweden.

We then touched upon working in Industry versus Academia, the importance of decision making- killing projects early - failing soon, team work versus individual contributions and managing a team of people. We wrap up talking about funding for science, transition from academic training to industry requirements and working on infectious diseases.

The interview covers a wide range of topics, from TB vaccines and treatments, to antimicrobial resistance, the academia versus industry debate- I certainly got an opportunity of taking in the big picture view and some insightful deep dives. I hope you enjoy listening to the conversation!

#tuberculosisInIndia #Mtb #vaccines #TBvaccines #AMR #antimicrobials #AntimicrobialResistance #industryVsAcademia

Recorded at Takshashila - to everyone who made this possible, thank you!

A podcast about Infectious Diseases in India.
Interviews with experts who work in different aspects of infectious disease research, diagnosis, treatment, public health and public health policy in India.