Dr. A.V. Ramarao has honored with Padma Bhushan for his outstanding contributions in the field of Science and Engineering.
ICC ACHARYA P. C. RAY AWARD FOR DEVELOPMENT OF INDIGENOUS TECHNOLOGY - 2013
Conferred on AVRA LABORATORIES PVT. LTD.
Dr. A. V. Rama Rao founded AVRA LABORATORIES 1995 after retiring as the Director of the
Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad. With four sites based in Hyderabad
and Vizag, it is amongst the first companies in India to focus on high-end contract research,
custom synthesis of complex chemicals and difficult to manufacture intermediates and APIs.
One example of the innovative technologies developed by Avra is the total synthesis of Irinotecan,
a compound with high molecular complexity. This drug is a semi-synthetic derivative of the natural
product Camptothecin and used to treat colorectal cancer. Using a 20 step
synthesis, Avra has developed
a commercially viable process to produce Irinotecan and its intermediates with a higher purity at
a lower cost.
Conventionally, Irinotecan and its intermediates such as SN-38 is made from Camptothecin,
a compound derived through extraction from a plant source - Camptotheca acuminata. This process
requires extensive chromatographic separations and relies on some low yielding synthetic steps to
yield SN-38 with a purity not exceeding 98.5%. Avra's technology does not rely on the natural
source and the product is made directly from commercially available and inexpensive raw materials.
The process allows for the preparation of SN-38, the key intermediate for the synthesis
of Irinotecan with a purity of 99.8%. The process is scalable and all concerns related to
dependence on plant sources such as seasonal yield, land and time for growth and pesticide
residues from soil do not arise. Avra's process allows for recovery and re-use of certain
reagents and solvents making the process green by minimizing waste.