The department of Natural Products came into existence as one of the six basic departments opened at time of inception of NIPER on September 1, 1994. The department was adequately equipped in two years and it started doctoral program in July 1996. The medicinal plants garden was also created with a view to develop it as a referral centre for authentication of botanicals for research purposes. The admission to Masters’ program was opened in July 1998 through a national level entrance test. The department offers courses for degrees in M.S.Pharm. (Natural Products), M.S.Pharm.(Traditional Medicines) and Ph.D. (Natural Products). The main thrust of the academic programs focuses on researches on standardization and quality control of herbal/traditional medicinal products, discovery of new bioactive molecules for various therapeutic areas, design and synthesis of natural products and their analogs. The students are also exposed to interdisciplinary curricula so as to enable them to undertake researches in drug discovery, herbal drug development and process chemistry of active constituents. The courses are designed to integrate traditional knowledge with modern medicines.
The department has attracted funding by receiving research grants from various government, non government and international agencies such as Department of AYUSH, Central Council of Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS), and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under Ministry of Science and Technology; International Foundation for Science (IFS), Sweden, Unichem Laboratories Limited, Mumbai, National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Dabur Research Foundation, Merck & Co., Inc. USA etc. etc. The department also has active international collaborations with Australian National University, Australia and University of Louisville, USA. Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. The faculty has also undertaken a number of industry sponsored projects and consultancy assignments. The department has also collaborated with leading institutes in India like NCCS, Pune for anti-HIV agents and IIIM, Jammu for anti-cancer activity etc. The department has also networked with 13 institutes in all states of north-east India for herbal wealth development, which is one of the biodiversity hot-spots of the world. The research efforts have led to several publications in journals of repute, both national and international and generation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The technical support has been provided to Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Ayurvedic Formulary of India and Indian Pharmacopoeia in their development of standard monographs on botanicals and their formulations. The department has also contributed to the series of books on quality standards of Indian medicinal plants by ICMR.
Presently, the department has three faculties, all having exposure to international research laboratories. Seventeen students have completed their doctorate and are well placed in academia and industry or have found positions as post doctoral fellows abroad. Fifteen batches of M.S. (Pharm.) students have also passed out and have been well accepted in industry. The department has successfully conducted two national workshops one on curriculum development in natural products at post-graduate level to provide leadership in pharmaceutical education and research need for natural products development and one on cultivation techniques of medicinal plants to all stake-holders right from cultivators, quality control personnel working for the processing industry visited NIPER in March, 2006.They were apprised with Integrative Medicine Development programs being developed by the Department of Natural Products and Shows the Medicinal Plants Garden at NIPER.
Department of Natural Products is organizing Biennial International Conference entitled “New Developments in Drug Discovery from Natural Products and Traditional Medicines” since 2008. This conference intends to bring together both young and experienced scientists both from academia and pharma industry throughout the world and provide a platform for networking and possible collaborations. The conference offers real opportunities to discuss fresh issues, advancement in discovery tools to tackle complex problems and find workable, cost effective solutions to set new trends in research interacted with natural products and traditional medicines to meet the ever increasing global health care needs. A large number of young and senior scientists and delegates from all over the world attended the conference. The fifth DDNPTM conference will be held from 18 to 20 November, 2016 at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) SAS Nagar, Mohali, Punjab-160062.
The Department is well equipped and has state of the art facilities for research. It has well established chromatography laboratory with several HPLCs (analytical and preparative) equipped with all different detections, HPTLC, counter current chromatography, and LC-MS with dedicated ELSD and PDA detectors. The department has also a pilot facility for plant material extractions ranging from basic macerator to highly sophisticated Pressurized Liquid Extractor (PLE). The department has recently procured Supercritical Fluid Extraction Systems (SCFE) of both lab and pilot scale and is under installation. The department also has freeze dryer, pilot scale evaporators and extractors. The department has a well established biology laboratory for biological evaluation of natural products and a tissue culture facility.
The departmental research activities are concentrated in the following areas :
Discovery of new chemical entities (NCEs) from natural products of terrestrial, microbial and marine origin in the following therapeutic areas :
Discovery of anti-HIV, antimycobacterial and antiprotozoal mainly anti-leishmanial agents. Discovery and development of anti-diabetics, antioxidants and immunomodulating agents, adaptogens, anti-inflammatory agents, gynaecology and endocrine dysfunction studies and anticancer agents with apoptotic molecular basis.
Development of in vitro testing models for screening of natural products, in the above mentioned therapeutic areas.
Semisynthesis and synthesis of biologically active compounds alongwith generation of pseudonatural products.
Traditional Medicine development programmes: Standardization and quality control of herbal drugs and products.
The overall objective and aim of this traditional medicine programme shall be to meet the demand of cost effective medications and biological agents from sustainable medicinal plant resources with the following steps :
To lay down standards and effective quality controls on the Herbal Medicinal Products
To create databases for identification and authentication of materials with well defined botanical and phytochemical characteristics
To create libraries of marker/characterizing constituents for positive chemical identification of materials through chemoprofiling
To create quantitative standards for extracts and their formulations through chemo- and bio-profilings
To create standard protocols for establishing purity of materials, identification of adulterants, substitutes, pathogenic bacteria & fungi, heavy metals and pesticide residues
To develop dosage forms of the herbal products and their stability studies
To develop bioavailability protocols for herbal medicinal products with the help of biomarkers
Finally, to conduct clinical trials of the scientifically developed formulation and validate the traditional claims
Understanding synergy between components of a medicinal plant, that have been described at a molecular level giving credence to the biomarker concepts apart from well understood chemical marker concepts
Process technology programmes: Development of chemical process technologies for important natural products involving isolation, semisynthesis or synthesis.
Other areas of interest :
Agrotechniques for the development of commercially important medicinal plants with high active component
Development of tissue/cell suspension cultures for production of secondary metabolites
Development of analytical methods for phytochemicals
Development of nutraceuticals with the clear cut structure-function relationships for quality dietary supplements
Projects Completed and Ongoing
Major Ongoing Project :
To ascertain the commercial potential of the method for domestic production of Shikimic acid and survey of plant resources.
Survey of pharmaceutical potential of herbal wealth of Bihar and its traditional systems in vogue
Evaluation of selected medicinal plants for COX-2/COX-1 activity and anti-inflammatory activity
Antimycobacterial compounds from Indian medicinal plants
Identification of anti-viral compounds with potential for development of microbicides to prevent HIV infection and transmission
Discovery of potential antileishmanial chemotherapeutics and ethnotherapeutics from medicinal plants
Isolation of anthocyanins from berries
Anti-candida metabolites of Burkholderia gladioli OR-1
Standardization and quality control of anti-HIV formulation
Phytochemical and biological evaluation of selected Eucalyptus species
Synthesis of natural piperine-amino acid derivatives as potential antileishmanial agents
Major Completed Projects :
Central Scheme to Develop Pharmacopoeial Standards for ISM Drugs. Part – II
Central Scheme for Development of Agro- Techniques for ISM Drugs. Part- II
Evaluation of Potential Ayurvedic Drugs for Gynaecological Disorders
Standardisation and Quality Control, and Formulation of Traditional Medicines
Development of Standards of Selected Therapeutically Important Indian Medicinal Plants
Immuno-stimulant and Adaptogens from Selected Few Indigenous Plants
Investigations on Cox-2/Cox-1 Inhibition From Some Indian Medicinal Plants
Ex-situ and In-situ Cultivation, Conservation of Medicinal Plants and Production of Germplasm of Quality Material in Bulk from Brahmi, Anantmool, Asparagus adsendens, etc.
Synthesis of natural Piperine-amino acid derivatives as potential anti-leishmanial agents
Development of a method to extract and purify Sideroxylonals from Eucalyptus loxophleba foliage
Central Scheme for Development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of Manufacturing Process of Compound of Ayurvedic-Siddha-Unani Formulations and Their Pharmacopoeial Standards under APS Scheme
A Composite Proposal for Preparation, Standardisation and Stability Related Issues of Pippalyadi Yoga, an Ayurvedic Oral Contraceptive
Survey and evaluation of pharmaceutical potential of North-East India
Comprehensive Research on Asavas and Aristas by studying Markers of the plant materials used therein and stability and shelf life studies and Technology development of these formulations
Creating databases on chemical standardization of five hundred Ayurvedic materia medica from 150 species of medicinal plants and marker libraries thereof.
Minor Completed Projects :
Sample analyzed by GLC – PGI Chandigarh.
Residue of ignition – Cepham Milk.
Sample analyzed by HPTLC – Alpha Drug Ltd.
Sample analyzed by GLC – Kusampal Sirohee
Sample analyzed by HPTLC – Aman Bio-tech
Sample analyzed by HPTLC – Panjab University, Chandigarh
Samples analyzed by HPTLC – Jubilant Ltd., Noida
Sample analyzed by HPTLC – TBRL, Chandigarh
Samples analyzed by HPLC – Punjabi University, Patiala
Sample analyzed by GLC – Star Pharma
Sample analyzed by HPLC – Cepham, Derabassi
Sample analyzed by HPTLC – Solan University
Samples analyzed by HPTLC – Punjabi University, Patiala
Sample analyzed by HPLC – Thapar University, Patiala
Sample analysed by HPLC – Panjab University, Chandigarh
Sample analyzed by HPTLC – GS-SC of Pharma Yamuna Nagar
Samples analyzed by HPLC – Punjabi University, Patiala
Validation of markers – Vedic Life Science
Preparation of protocol – Vedic Life Science
Sample on HPLC (Omperasole) – Axon Labs Ltd., Punjab
Samples analyzed on HPLC – Namiex Chemicals, Punjab