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- 03/31/2022

DCAT Week 2022 Interview: Akhil Ravi, CEO of Aurigene Pharmaceutical Services

Chimica Oggi-Chemistry Today

Akhil RaviPersonalized insights

Highlights from our discussion with Akhil Ravi, CEO of Aurigene Pharmaceutical Services.



Aurigene, a fully owned subsidiary of Dr Reddy’s, was formed by integrating the company’s discovery and CDMO arms in 2020.

“Attending DCAT Week 2022 is actually the first time we are attending an event physically since our formation,” says Akhil. “And it feels special even more for that reason. The challenges posed by the pandemic continue but, as a community, we have learned to adapt.”

Like other segments, the pharmaceutical industry is transforming, partially due to the pandemic, but digitization and automation leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning are also transforming pharmaceutical research, development, and manufacturing. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will enable us to augment our discovery and process development.

Accelerating oligonucleotides

In 2018, just seven oligonucleotide therapies had received marketing authorization in the USA and/or Europe; by 2021, this number had more than doubled to sixteen. Increasing demand for oligonucleotide drugs is based on the fact that they allow for personalized approaches, as they selectively target genes with minimal side effects. For the same reason, it is possible to target patient specific sequences that are causes of rare diseases.

“Aurigene Pharmaceutical Services envisioned a breakthrough growth in this area,” explains Akhil. “This is why we proactively invested in a discovery scale oligonucleotides facility to support integrated discovery services.”

The company is continuously improving its oligonucleotide analytical capability with technology and experience, using technologies such as deconvoluted Mass Spectra to maintain accuracy in the chemical synthesis of oligonucleotides. Controlling crude purity, purification and meeting specs – especially bioburden and handling – are major challenges up up-scaling, but these can be addressed by developing robust processes, controlling the input specifications, and appropriate environmental controls.

Advancing RNA-based therapies

RNA-based therapeutics have been described as having a “