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September 21, 2018

HSI/India teams up with ReaGene Biosciences to advance non-animal testing research in India

Partnership will promote the development of “organ on a chip” technology and other alternatives to animal methods

Humane Society International/India

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HYDERABAD—Humane Society International/India and life sciences start-up ReaGene Biosciences have joined hands to develop alternatives to animal testing, to promote their use, and to foster their acceptance by regulators.

The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a network of Indian scientists to shift research focus to non-animal methods and accelerate their acceptance worldwide, while keeping government officials and the scientific community updated on the latest advancements.

The project also supports education through internships on validated non-animal technologies. In the pilot phase of the internship program, three postgraduate students will train for six months, receiving in-depth instruction and hands-on experience in applying techniques of human-centric research. Interested candidates should contact Dr. Brinda Poojary at bpoojary@humanesociety.org.

The project is part of the Biomedical Research for the 21st Century (BioMed21) Collaboration, which brings together scientists and institutions from across Asia, Europe, and the Americas who share a vision of a human-focused paradigm in health research. As part of the BioMed21 initiative, HSI aims to establish new partnership opportunities with like-minded organizations and individuals.

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“Research has time and again shown that animals are not the correct models for research on human diseases. This agreement, a first of its kind, will look to further prove the need to develop alternate models for biomedical research through real-time research and hands-on education. We believe this programme will be key to providing an impetus to regulators and funding agencies to look beyond animal models and invest in more advanced, reliable, human-centric alternatives,” says Dr. Poojary, the scientific advisor for HSI/India.

Dr. Subrahmanyam Vangala, CEO and co-founder of ReaGene Biosciences Pvt Ltd, commented, “ReaGene is founded and led by established scientists from academia and pharmaceutical industry with global experience. With this venture, we aim to meet the unmet needs and gaps in practicing science in India. We are experts in translational technologies for substituting traditional animal models in pharmacology and toxicology to accelerate drug discovery research. We are happy that, with HSI India’s support, we are propelling our vision ahead.”

HSI/India has been successful in persuading the government to end the practice of animal testing for cosmetics, ending the import of animal-tested cosmetics, while also prohibiting the use of the Draize test in drug testing and ending animal testing on drugs that have already been tested on animals in another country. For centuries, the use of animals in science was thought to be the only way for science to progress. Statistics show that this is no longer the case, as 95 percent of drugs tested on animals fail when tested on humans. Advanced, more relevant methods have proven to be more effective and are increasingly accepted by regulators worldwide.

Media contact: Alokparna Sengupta, +91 9849094113, asengupta@hsi.org

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