Bristol-Myers Squibb is strengthening its R&D capabilities in India and is setting up a facility in Bangalore that will focus on early drug development.

B-MS says it is expanding its existing relationship with India’s largest biotechnology firm Biocon “to further develop integrated capabilities in India in medicinal chemistry, biology, drug metabolism, and pharmaceutical development.” Under the terms of the agreement, Biocon, through its subsidiary Syngene International, will work with the US drugs major to establish a research facility in Bangalore “that could ultimately house more than 400 scientists to help advance B-MS’ discovery and early drug development.”

At the same time, B-MS has signed a separate multi-year agreement with consultants Accenture to include support for clinical data and document management, pharmacovigilance, and scientific writing functions in India. Accenture will also provide maintenance and support for R&D information systems and B-MS says it will use the latter’s “well-established Life Science Centers for Excellence in Bangalore and Chennai, which follow industry accepted operational practices and international standards in the clinical area.”

Elliott Sigal, B-MS executive vice president, said the expansion of R&D in India “will allow us to grow competively while maintaining our industry-leading position in productivity and innovation,” while Biocon’s chairman Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw noted that the new research facility “marks a significant step forward in Biocon and Syngene’s evolution as a valuable partner to the global pharmaceutical industry.”

Jonathan Lange of Accenture applauded B-MS’ moves in India, noting that “as the industry continues to face increased pressure to deliver new product innovations efficiently, leading companies are rethinking R&D operating models for sustained growth and productivity.”