The NPIL Research & Development Limited (NRDL), an independent company that was recently demerged from Nicholas Piramal India Limited from Mumbai signed an agreement with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India to initiate an industry – university / national institute partnership programme in drug discovery.

The public private partnership project involves nine institutes, with NRDL as an industrial partner. The total cost of the project is approximately Rs. 250 million (US $6.25 million), Rs.180 million (US $4.5 million) of which are being contributed by the DBT and Rs. 70 million ($ 1.75 million) by NRDL.

The participating institutes are: National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, National Centre for Cell Science, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, University of Delhi, South Campus, Institute of Life Sciences, M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Guru Nanak Dev University, Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development, National Institute of Oceanography, 

The project envisages a mega-scale screening programme for various environmental isolates. This is the first project in India in which industry and academia will work together to screen such a large number of bacterial isolates. Different academic institutes will isolate organisms specific to diverse ecological niches.

The project will lead to the selection of potential candidate molecules, which will be taken to process scale-up strategies with appropriate partners. The credit-sharing in this project amongst the PI and industry has been mutually worked out.