The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), under the Government of India’s Ministry of Science and Technology has sanctioned funding to Sabinsa’s parent company Sami Labs for research on “Development and standardization of manufacturing processes for large scale production of valuable secondary metabolites from callus-derived cells of vascular cambial explants of selected woody plant species.”
Though Sami Labs has been granted funds by DSIR earlier on several other proposals for study on high value products, this is the first time the funding is received under the PACE scheme, a program aiming to support Indian industry with technology and IP acquisition and co-development projects with R&D institutions.
Plants have been used not only for food but also as sources of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals. A conservative estimate speaks of more than 100,000 known plant secondary metabolites and also more than 25% of these are potential lead candidates in medicine or are already being used in medicine.
About six woody species, based on their commercial importance, were chosen for this project, and the respective secondary metabolites are targeted for production and commercialization.
“The main objective of the current research is to avoid exploitation of trees for extraction of actives, but alternatively produce them by in vitro techniques in the lab followed by scale up at pilot level for evaluation of commercial feasibility,” said Sami-Sabinsa Group founder Dr. Muhammed Majeed. “Sami Labs has state-of-the-art laboratory set up with sophisticated analytical instruments for identification, characterization and quantification of the bio-active secondary metabolites.”
Sami Labs is setting up a pilot scale facility in this regard, that will have perfusion bioreactors in a classified area with downstream processing of the extracts and purification of the actives. The scientists involved are highly confident to commercialize the products accessible through this novel route.