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Hylasco Bio-Technology: Bringing Quality and International Standards to the Indian Biotechnology Marketplace

Hylasco Bio-Technology: Bringing Quality and International Standards to the Indian Biotechnology Marketplace

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Dr. Balaji Bhyravbhatla,Managing Director
Dr. Balaji Bhyravbhatla
Managing Director

To be able to cater to the fast-growing pharma and biotech industry and be a part of the Govt of India’s strategic “Make in India” campaign is the driving force behind Hyderabad headquartered Hylasco Bio-Technology Pvt. Ltd. An exclusive technology licensee of Charles River Labs (the world leader in animal breeding and supply) from USA, Hylasco is one of the first companies to establish a SPF(Specific Pathogen Free) breeding facility. The company provides products and services for animal house facilities undertaking pre-clinical research or long-term studies for drug development. “We focus on high quality animal models that enable our clients to increase their data quality standards and also reduce repeat experimentation and therefore number of animals in their studies,” informs Dr. Balaji Bhyravbhatla, Managing Director, Hylasco Bio-Technology.

Hylasco marked its beginning in 2012 and its focus is towards the breeding and supply of SPF animals. We screen for more than 22+ pathogens to ensure the SPF quality. Considering the fact that India does not have a robust drug discovery program(either in industry or academia) there was a question as to why this was the case. On closer scrutiny, along with several other reasons, an observation that stood out was the lack of high quality animal suppliers who can breed and supply the SPF animals. The lack of a quality supplier in the local market led to the slow growth of the domestic Indian drug discovery and development efforts is very clear.
Throwing light on quality related concerns Dr. Balaji says, “Having a high-quality product is not enough to enable the industry to prosper because there are infrastructure issues for CRO/Laboratories to accept such animals and conduct studies using them. Also, since the animals are fed high quality imported feed and bedding their responses to stimuli and baseline are very consistent. However, presently in India we do not have qualified ingredients within the country and the local feed is not acceptable to our animals. Therefore the end users are not able to take full advantage of the higher quality rodent supply”

" SPF should not be looked at like a product or a service but more like a philosophy. Unless the high standards are maintained at every level and precautions taken at every step to ensure bio-security there is no meaning to it. One mistake one time is enough to breach the bio-security ring and thus loose value "

Keeping the present ecosystem deficiencies in mind, the company provides a Total Quality Management(TQM) approach towards their clients and took up distribution agreements with all the vendors who supply to Hylascoto breed their animals and agree to trade in their goods as well. “Now, an end user can buy our animals and we can send them the same feed and bedding to house the animals at their end. We can also consult with our users who want to build a facility or upgrade their present facilities to house and experiment on SPF animals. We hope that this comprehensive and complete package will be helpful to everyone transitioning towards SPF quality animals easily,” he mentions.

A High-end Animal Model in the Pipeline
The special model services Hylasco delivers to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic and national institutes are purely focused on original discovery
research and development of therapeutics. Talking about their high-end animal model, Dr. Balaji elaborates that these models are for understanding and increasing knowledge of disease areas, mainly research focused. The special models are to gain a foothold into the mechanism of action of the particular chemical entity or the protein of interest. In this field special animals called Knock-in or Knock-out or Transgenics are used. These special animals are genetically engineered to respond to specific stimuli to help in understanding the mechanism of how a disease is working in the many biological pathways. “Within this context of Transgenic animals, there is a very special animal model that is very useful in R&D – known as NCG Mouse. This is our very high-end animal model that is now being used worldwide for all Oncology (cancer) related studies. We have introduced this animal into India and hope that the clients take advantage of this new offering,” he mentions.

The company ensures the animals they breed are always SPF quality and constantly monitors against the listed disease pathogens that can affect the animal health and thereby effecting the study result. Also, the breeding program setup ensures similar genetic background animals. “This then eliminates the effects of individuality and whatever the test results are they are from the drug and not from any other variable,” he adds.

The Growth
Hylasco over the years has registered a steady growth. In the coming year, the team plans to build a 50,000 plus sq. ft. facility with multiple barrier rooms capable of producing more than a few thousand animals at a time. “We anticipate the need of transgenics to grow and because import of these sensitive animals is difficult we will be providing them locally. We hope that this spurs more R&D activity in India and very soon we can have our VERY FIRST drug discovered and developed” he concludes.