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16-30 April 2010  
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Home - Pharma Life - Article

Principal KM Kundnani College of Pharmacy: Excellence through Innovation

If India’s pharma industry is going global, it is thanks to an ever increasing talent pool nurtured by academic institutes. In the first of a series profiling such institutes, Viveka Roychowdhury profiles Principal K M Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Mumbai

Born out of the resolve of one of the many refugees at the time of India's painful Partition, Mumbai's Principal KM Kundnani College of Pharmacy (KMKCP) will complete four decades next year.

The story goes that while other people were accumulating and protecting their wealth and other valuables and running for their lives, the late Vidyasagar Principal K.M. Kundnani, brought to India a different treasure: trunks of books and 20 Carl-Zeiss microscopes! As the first Sindhi from Hyderabad, Sind to obtain a Master of Science Degree in Physics, Principal Kundnani was already the principal of a college, and he knew that education was the key to building up a community.

With a vision to start educational facilities for the deprived Sindhi refugee community in India, Principal Kundnani along with legal luminary late Barrister Hotchand G. Advani, founded the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board (HSNC) in 1949. Like the mythical phoenix rising from the ashes, the Board today manages 27 institutions. In fact, the phoenix was selected as the mascot of KMKCP during its Silver Jubilee function in 1996 and continues to inspire all those to pass beneath its portals.

Keepers of the faith


Dr (Mrs) P M D' Mello

Principal
Principal K M Kundanani College of Pharmacy

Taking over the reins of the story, the present principal, Dr (Mrs) P M D' Mello, relates that after setting up National College, KC College then HR College (all in Mumbai), the Board set up KMKCP. "This college first started at Ulhasnagar (a suburb in the north east of Mumbai) was then shifted to Worli in 1982, and finally in 2005, we moved into an eight-storey building in Cuffe Parade, South Mumbai," says D'Mello.

Today, the college counts among its alumni leading lights of the Indian pharmaceutical industry like Glenn Saldanah, CEO, Glenmark Pharma; Madan Joshi, Managing Director, Capsugel (a division of Pfizer), Aditi Kare Panandikar, Director, Business Development & HRD, Indoco Remedies; Bankim Vakil, General Manager International, Blue Cross Laboratories and many more.

According to D'Mello, the college has a very strong research focus, both at post graduate (PG) and doctoral level. Of the faculty of 20, 13 are recognised Post Graduate (PG) guides by the University of Mumbai, and six are PhD guides.

A class apart


Students at work in the central instrumentation laboratory

Another feather in the cap of KMKCP is that it is one of the very few pharmacy colleges to have a pilot plant with a capacity of more than five kg on campus with machineries and equipments like tablet rotary press, fluidised bed dryer, coating facilities, semi-solid dosage forms facilities and many more.

Besides this, the college has a very sophisticated, up-to-date central instrumentation centre with five HPLCs, HPTLC, Supercritical Fluid Extraction Unit, DSC, besides the normal UV spectrophotometers, FTIR, etc. The college has a separate Drug Design Laboratory with advanced software for computer assisted drug designing.

These facilities understandably attract industry. Development of modified release pharmaceuticals to meet better patient compliance, improved bioavailability and minimised side effects, preclinical evaluation and dosage form development for herbals, analytical method development and validation, impurity profiling have always been the thrust area of the college as far as industry collaborations are concerned. 'Excellence through innovation', the motto of the college, seems to find practical expression at these laboratory benches.

Giving more details, D'Mello says, "We do undertake consultancy projects with pharma companies, dealing with analytical, pre-clinical and toxicological studies, in the areas of phytochemistry, standardisation of herbal drugs among others. We have also been involved in the scale up and transfer of manufacturing technology to industries." This ensures that students are directly exposed to industry activities. Current tie ups include the likes of Charak Pharma, Solumiks and Vedic Lifesciences, informs D'Mello.

A few process patents have also been filed based on the work done at the college and are in the process of review.

Industry inputs

The college continues to attract strong industry support, the latest being the contribution from Blue Cross Laboratories to set up a modern auditorium facility in the college premises. The inaugural of the Smt Geeta Israni Auditorium and the first Smt Geeta Israni Memorial Lecture, also served to initiate the activities of the college's Drug Information Centre (DIC).

Delivering the first Smt Geeta Israni Memorial Lecture, Padmabhushan Dr R D Lele, Director of Nuclear Medicine and RIA Department, Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre, spoke on the "Importance of Computerised Prescriptions"

This theme, points out D'Mello, is close to the college administration's core belief in the 'practice of pharmacy in presence of patients'. As she puts it, community pharmacy is our end target. Because while the college continues to take on industry consultancy projects thanks to its infrastructure (See box: Fact File), D'Mello would like to her students to engage with the larger public as early in their pharmacy training as possible. This will help them develop a sense of responsibility towards the general population, because at the end of the day, "Pharmacy is a Science for Humanity".

FACT FILE on Principal K M Kundnani College of Pharmacy
Vision: To Become Centre Of Excellence Of Pharmacy Education And Research, To Provide World Class Professionals And To Serve Humanity At Large
Mission: To Provide Excellent Educational Environment With Dedicated Faculty For Creating Quality Professionals In The Field Of Pharmacy Education, Research, Industry, Hospital And Other Health Related Areas.
Established in: 1971
Accreditations: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi; Pharmacy Council of India, New Delhi and permanently affiliated to the University of Mumbai. Under Graduate Course leading to the award of the B.Pharm. degree by the University of Mumbai has been re-accredited by the National Board Accreditation (NBA), New Delhi in the year 2009
Current premises: An area of approximately 4243 sq.mts. spread over eight floors
Departments:
Dept. of Pharmaceutics
Dept. of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Dept. of Pharmacognosy
Dept. of Pharmacology
Dept. of Pharmaceutical Analysis
Extracurricular activities: Community and Clinical Pharmacy Cell, Rotaract Club, Nature Club, participation in Quiz competitions, Cultural and Sports activities etc.
Student Exchange Programme (IPSF-SEP): Every year, two students are deputed to travel abroad and take up selected summer training positions organised by the International Pharmaceutical Students' Federation (IPSF). In exchange, students from these countries spend time in India, familiarising themselves with healthcare systems here. For instance, in 2009, Pallav Shah was an exchange student in Armenia, where he had the opportunity to train at a community pharmacy of a Hungarian pharmacy, Gedeon Ritcher. He was part of a group of students from places as diverse as the US, Egypt and Hungary so he got to interact with and compare healthcare systems with all these students. Similarly, Shekhar Rawtani got a chance to go to Hungary.

Beyond books


Senior faculty at KMKCP

Pilot plant facilities

Library

The 300-odd students on campus are encouraged to participate in outreach activities around this theme. The college has its own Rotaract Club, which conducts health awareness drives, diabetes detection camps, and disease awareness seminars. On visits to old age homes, students make the inmates aware of the right way to take medication as they are under several medications and this could lead to adverse drug reactions, etc. A recent trip to a rural backward area made them aware of the severe lack of access to healthcare in such areas and the importance of informing such populations on the basics of hygiene, simple nutrition, etc

The newly formed DIC will take these activities forward with seminars on Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs), drug interactions, issues regarding drug use in pediatric and geriatric populations, as well as information on diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, where we need to understand not only how to take medicines but also lifestyle changes.

The college is targeting disease conditions like Alzheimer's, arthritis, and will focus on practical advice on the precautions to be taken, what foods are to be avoided, etc. The DIC aims not just to reach out to the college's pharmacy students but also to the community so that the community can learn how to take care of themselves, says D'Mello.

Emerging areas

Today, the pharma industry is no longer just about manufacturing medicines. Improving patient compliance, access to medicines and better healthcare delivery are also on the agenda. Thus students too need to keep pace with the newly emerging focus areas and career choices.

In tune with this approach to pharmacy as a multidisciplinary science, KMKCP conducts several short term add on courses/seminars to keep students updated on emerging areas like regulatory guidelines for New Drug Applications (NDA), patent filing procedures, clinical research, etc. Industry participation in these seminars ensures more up-to-date learning and exposure to current trends as well.

D'Mello informs that they have recently signed an MoU with Center for Clinical Research and Training (CCRT), Mumbai, an organisation which specialises in custom-designed short term educational courses and professional training programmes for medical, dental, pharma and life sciences professionals and students in the areas of clinical research, pharma management and related subjects.

Alumni association

The college counts on its very active alumni network to give their insights to current students. Many alumni come back to give seminars on their areas of specialisation, be it regulatory, clinical research, or intellectual property (IP). These introductory courses give students an idea of the basics in these topics so that they can decide if they have the aptitude to opt for them as career options.

In addition, D'Mello reveals that the administration is intending to set up a separate three month course on personality development and development of soft skills to make students more industry ready.

Going places
KMKCP has served as a stepping stone to world class institutes for several students
Batch Students Overseas calling
Current batch (2009-2010) Shivani Manghani and Aisha Mulla London School of Pharmacy for an MS
2008-09 Sachita B University of Illinois, Chicago
2008-09 Dipesh N St. John's University, New York
2008-09 Dhanesh Amarnani Northeastern University, Boston
2007-08 Riddhi Mehta University of Cambridge
2007-08 Priyanka Talwarkar Imperial College of London

Knowledge not enough, inculcate values

Quiz her on the changes that she has seen in the 27 years of her joining the college, and D'Mello comments that besides the many changes in the industry, the students have also changed. "Today we cannot afford to be merely teachers, we have to be mentors," she stresses. "Teachers cannot merely impart knowledge, but need to inculcate an ethical attitude and integrity. We don't want our students to be mechanical robots. We want them to be sensitised human beings, sensitive to the needs of society."

With such a philosophy guiding the college administration, there is no doubt that KMKCP will continue to rise like the phoenix, turning every adversity into opportunity.

viveka.r@expressindia.com

 


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