Dr. Ramachandran brings to the company eighteen years of rich and distinguished executive experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Ramachandran was Head, R & D of AstraZeneca, Bangalore. He served as President of Astra Biochemicals Private Ltd and of the merged entity AstraZeneca India. During his tenure with Astra and AstraZeneca, he established state-of-the art R & D programs for discovering and developing novel therapies for the treatment of tuberculosis and antibiotic resistant infection.
In 1988, as Vice President of research at Neurex Corporation in Menlo Park, California, he spearheaded the development of highly selective neuronal calcium channel antagonists derived from the venoms of marine, fish-eating cone snails. SNX-111, a synthetic conopeptide with three disulfide bonds was shown to be highly effective in suppressing chronic intractable pain in cancer patients. Clinical trials including two pivotal phase III trials were completed successfully and SNX-111 received approvable status under the name Ziconotide in June 2000. Ten thousand times more potent than morphine, Ziconotide is the first and only non-opiate (non-addictive) drug produced for intractable pain. Elan Pharmaceuticals acquired Neurex Corporation in 1998 for seven hundred million dollars. Dr. Ramachandran started his career in the biotech industry at Genentech, Inc. where he pioneered the molecular cloning and expression of several important cell surface receptors (including the human insulin receptor), thus making these targets accessible for the development of novel therapies based on high throughput screening of combinatorial libraries. Prior to this, he was on the faculty of the University of California as a member of the Hormone Research Laboratory and the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics where he became Associate Professor (1972) and Professor (1978). Dr. Ramachandran has researched extensively on the structure and function of polypeptide hormones of the pituitary as well as the molecular basis of transmembrane signaling through cell surface receptors and ion channels.
Dr. Ramachandran is a member of the Indian Academy of Sciences (elected in 1988). He was a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee on Tropical Diseases Research for the World Health Organization (1990-92). During the past ten years, he has been actively involved in the development of novel strategies to combat infection. Dr. Ramachandran received his Ph.D.in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, holds an MS degree in Chemistry from De Paul University in Chicago and Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) with Honours from the University of Madras.