The Wellcome Trust, an independent charity funding research organization based in UK, has launched a new funding scheme with an allocated fund of £30 million for a period of five years in India for affordable healthcare offering funds for drug discovery and development activities of life sciences institutes and industry.

The Wellcome Trust, established in 1936 as an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health, is the UK's largest non-government source of funds for biomedical research. In September 2008, the Trust has signed a partnership agreement with the Government of India for a jointly-funded Biomedical Research Career Programme with £80 million fund allocation. The programme will fund cutting-edge biomedical research in India, and complement Wellcome Trust's recent investment to support public health research in the country.

The initiative is to enhance the research activities in India for quality low cost drugs, which will help the majority of population which has poor access to medicine, according to Fiona MacLaughlin, senior business analyst, Technology Transfer Division, The Wellcome Trust. The new scheme was launched in the Drug Discovery and Development of Innovative Therapeutics India conference organized by the US-based IBC Life Sciences.

The Trust will initiate talks with the R&D institutes and companies for funding in the coming few months, informed Dr Shrishendu Mukherjee, strategic advisor, R&D Initiative – India. The funding will be increased from the current £30 million in a long term. However, decision on the profit sharing or royalty based funding will be decided in a case-to-case basis, he added.

The key strengths of the country in quality production at low cost, strong desire for globalisation, superior capacity for conducting clinical trials, the skilled manpower, the strong intellectual property regime and the ripe market are appropriate for research and development activities.