Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chennai gets new Collector Kakarla Usha

CHENNAI 30 May: Kakarla Usha is appointed collector of Chennai on Friday, as part of a minor reshuffle of babus by the state government. Usha, additional commissioner in the city corporation, has been transferred and posted as Chennai district collector.

She was transferred a year ago to Nilgiris as collector but the government reversed its decision as the Chennai corporation required her services for some more time.

Karuturi To Raise $250 Million For Ethiopia Plans

Karuturi Global Ltd, (Karuturi Ramakrishna Chairman&MD) a floriculture and food processing firm, is planning to raise $ 250 million, of which $150 million will be through debt and $100 million through equity, for an agriculture project in involving 7.5 lakh acre land in Ethiopia. The company plans to grow paddy, sugarcane, palm and vegetables and will complete its land acquisition by end of 2008. The company has already firmed up $100 million from private equity firms, an official has said..

The company will be diluting 10 per cent stake in its wholly owned Dubai-based subsidiary, Karuturi Overseas Ltd. Debt portion is being raised from a consortium of banks in Ethiopia. Karuturi Global said that half the land will be used in growing paddy and produce will target export market in Europe, West Asia and Africa. Karuturi Global is the world’s largest producer of roses.

Sujana Aqcuires 3 Steel Units In Andhra; Looks For More In South

Hyderabad based Sujana Metals Products Ltd (SMPL) (Yalamanchili S Chowdary) has acquired three steel units for Rs 180 crore in three different transactions. The units acquired include Saritha Steels, Glade Steels and Shree Ganga Steels, and they are located at Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Chennai, respectively.

SMPL plans to invest Rs 180 crore for acquisition, expansion and modernization of their capacities. The company will add around 300,000 tonnes per annum(TPA) through acquisition and expansion of these three units.

SMPL is a part of Rs 3,000 crore Sujana Group. The company claims to offer widest range of long steel products in the country. Its clients include Larsen & Turbo, Reliance Industries, DLF, IVR Infrastructure, among others. The company’s capacity after this acquisition and proposed expansion will be 728,000 TPA as compared to 290,000 TPA last year.

Sujana plans to expand capacity to one million by 2010 through organic and inorganic routes. Also it plans to increase its sales to Rs 3,100 crore and profits to Rs 300 crore. The profits for current fiscal year were Rs 50 crore and its sales level for period July 2007 to June 2008 is expected to be Rs 1,400 crore.

SMP’s strategy is to offer a ’single window’ to cater to diverse needs of industry majors. “From a limited range of products in the construction steel segment around this time last year, SMPL today offers an unlimited range of products in structural steel segment(light, medium and heavy).

The other companies in Sujana group include Sujana Universal Industries Ltd, Sujana Projects Ltd and Sujana Towers Ltd. The group has presence in power transmission, telecom towers, construction & structural steel, urban infrastructure development, precision engineering components, domestic appliances and international trade.

Sujana Metal Products had earlier this year acquired a TMT rolling mill in Hyderabad with installed capacity of about 100,000 TPA together and M.S. Ingots making facility of capacity about 50,000 TPA. These units are Handum Industries and Kamini Steels respectively. The company plans to acquire more units across south India.

'Pandurangadu' mighty hit

After Annamayya and Sri Ramadasu, director K Raghavendra Rao once again comes up with a winner in Pandurangadu.

His midas touch is clearly visible in the last 45 minutes of the film. The magical combination of MM Keeravani and Raghavendra Rao works again. Indeed, Keeravani steals the show once again with extremely soulful devotional numbers and extraordinary re-recording.

Comparing to NTR’s classic Panduranga Mahatyam, Balayya’s Pandurangadu is not an exact remake of teh original. Basic storyline is similar to the old classic, but the script here is completely different.

Pundareeka Ranganathudu aka Rangadu (Balakrishna) has all the vices. He is womanizer and mistreats his parents. His parents (K Vishwanath and Shivaparvathi) are pained by his deeds and they force him to get married.

Rangadu is attracted to local prostitute Amrutha (Tabu) and they become very close to each other. On other hand, there is Lakshmi (Sneha) who is devotee of Lord Krishna. She dreams that Lord Krishna ordered her to get married to Rangadu.

Lakshmi comes to his house and pleads with him to marry her. Initially he refuses but finally accepts her as his wife. Even after marriage he doesn’t change his vices. The rest of the film is how Lord Krishna makes Pandurangadu realize his faults and makes him better person.

The first half is a little bit slow but the film gains momentum post interval and then there is no dull moment. Balakrishna shines in the role of Lord Krishna. Of the two roles he scores in Krishna's role although his performance as Bhakta towards the climax is good.

Sneha has now perfected the art of a suffering of a wife in films. She is excellent. Tabu looks hot. She shows off her assets more than required in a very important role of a prostitute. You get to see plenty of cleavage in the movie. Mohan Babu in a small role is good. K Vishwanath and others have done justice to the role.

Keeravani’s music is a major asset and Malayalam singer Madhu Balakrishna’s rendition has brought freshness.
Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sania Mirza with Akkineni Naga Chaitanya

It is long known that Nagarjuna's son, Akkineni Naga Chaitanya, will make his debut in a film directed by Puri Jagannath, the specialist in launching star sons. At present, the young scion of the Akkineni family is taking voice modulation lessons and dancing, martial arts and acting lessons in preparation for his debut.

According to sources close to Puri Jagannath, who is flying high on Bujjigadu's success, Sania Mirza will do a five-minute cameo appearance opposite the young debutante. In fact, Nagarjuna had approached the tennis star personally for this role. He had previously approached Sania to act in his next film, but Sania had been focussing on her career and had turned him down.

Sania Mirza's cameo is more or less confirmed in Naga Chaitanya's debut film, though the lead heroine hasn't been confirmed yet!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Aravind Eye Care System wins $ 1 mn Gates Foundation award

New York: An innovative eye surgery network in Tamil Nadu that has prevented blindness among millions and provided affordable quality eye care for the poor has won the $1 million Gates Award for Global Health, the world’s highest prize for healthcare. The Aravind Eye Care system, a non-profit network, is the eighth recipient of the award set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to honour extraordinary efforts to improve health in developing countries.

Founded in Madurai by eye surgeon Dr.G. Venkataswamy Ravilla in 1976 from a rented house with 11 beds, Aravind has today grown into a network of hospitals and clinics that has saved millions from debilitating blindness in India where cataract accounts for more than half the cases of blindness.

Named after Sri Aurobindo, the revolutionary freedom fighter-turned-mystic, Aravind last year provided outpatient care to nearly 2.4 million people and performed more than 280,000 surgeries. Its efforts have contributed to reducing the number of blind people in India by 25 percent, from 8.9 million in 1990 to 6.7 million in 2002.

“Being blind in a rural village in the developing world leaves a person in darkness and dependence, often unable to earn a living or assist in the duties of their household,” William H. Gates Sr, the co-chair of the foundation, said in a statement announcing the award.

“Aravind has given sight to millions of men, women and children, enabling them to participate in the lives of their families and communities,” he added.

Outreach teams from Aravind hospitals coordinate with local leaders and service groups across India to organise eye camps that provide free examination and surgery by keeping costs extremely low. Care for the poor is subsidised through fees for paying customers and the sale of eye-care products.

“All people have a right to sight,” said Perumalsamy Namperumalsamy, chairman of Aravind. “We hope this award will encourage others to develop creative, sustainable solutions to blindness and other global health challenges.”

Aravind also trains health professionals to work throughout the country and uses high-speed broadband links from central hospitals to eye camps in poor areas. Doctors can diagnose and refer patients in real time, ensuring that only those who require surgery make the journey to the hospital.

“Ensuring that the world’s poorest people can access essential healthcare is an ongoing challenge in global health,” said Nils Daulaire, president of the Global Health Council, which coordinates the selection process of the Gates Award.

“Aravind has demonstrated that there are ways to do good and commit to providing the highest quality services while utilising the latest technologies and scientific advances,” he added.
Thulasiraj Ravilla, the executive director of the Lions Aravind institute of community ophthalmology in Madurai, said they plan to use the award money to expand services to provide spectacles to everyone in India.

Read more about Aravind eye hospital: http://www.kammavelugu.org/Dec2007/eyehospital.htm

Naren Kumar charts new course

"There will be a big boost for rallying in India. Finally it will get its due recognition as a spectator sport"- V R Naren Kumar.

The feeling of euphoria is at its peak. All people connected with V R Naren Kumar (A Kamma guy from Coimbatore) are waiting with bated breath and thumping heartbeats. For, the man is set to create a piece of history in Indian motorsport.

May 29, 2008 will be the historic day when the Coimbatore driver will attempt to make his presence felt among the top guns in the big, bad and glamorous World Rally Championship. Naren has arrived in the Production Class of the WRC and his first event will be the Rally of Greece this weekend. He will compete in a shiny, new Subaru WRX 2008 model car with English navigator Nicky Beech.

"It's a great feeling to realise my long-term dream of representing India at the world rally stage," said the 33-year-old.

The road to just reach this level has not been easy at all. Naren has won the Indian National Rally Championship six times and it was crystal clear that this man had to go to higher levels in the sport. The 2001 Asia Zone champion had seen it all at the National level and needed to go international. That he did last year and drove in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, with the best finish being a second place in the Malaysian Rally. The fact was that Naren was competing in APRC in a car that was not as well prepared as the Subaru of Aussie Cody Crocker or the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IXs of Team MRF.

With not many ready to put their money into Naren's WRC dreams, it was an uncomfortable situation. Naren had offers from Fiat Abarth Works team for the European Rally Championship a couple of seasons ago and also tested with the Subaru World Rally Team last year. But it all boiled down to how much money he could get in.

Finally, help came in the form of a Bangalore-based company Sidvin Core Technologies, which decided to sponsor Naren's entry into the PWRC. It was a former rallyist Mohan Nagarajan, the managing director of Sidvin, who decided this talented driver should race at the top levels. In fact, Sidvin has taken over as the title sponsor of the INRC too.

However, all associated with Team Sidvin India (TSI) will be well aware that miracles will not happen overnight. It is not easy to win against drivers who have many, many years of experience in driving top-of-the-line rally cars. But given Naren's exceptional talent and with four-time WRC title winner Tommi Makinen preparing his car, fair results should not be unrealistic. "Considering the level of drivers and extreme conditions and terrain, a top-10 in the world rally stage will be a great result for the first year," said Naren.

TSI have also roped in Ramji Srinivasan as the physical fitness trainer for Naren. Srinivasan is also the trainer for Karthikeyan in the A1 Grand Prix series. It is no secret that drivers need to be in supreme fitness to take the rigours of motorsport.

More than just the historic significance of the first Indian in the PWRC, what this event could do to Indian rallying will be viewed with great interest as it could pave the way for more Indians to get to the rally stage.

In 2005, Naren's city-mate Narain Karthikeyan became the first Indian to drive in the Formula One world championship. That triggered a wave of interest in a sport that was getting increased media attention. And today, we have an Indian F1 team in Force India.

The whole problem has been that with very few being exposed to world rallying in India, not many really know what it is. However, what happened to F1 and India could also happen to rallying. If Naren gets some good results, it is sure to boost rallying in the country. Also, getting into rallying is more economical than the prospect of someone getting into F1.

"There will be a big boost for rallying in India," Naren felt. "Finally, it will get its due recognition as a super spectator sport.

"The cars that are used in the WRC are very different from those used in the INRC. Having better cars to race in at the National level makes things easier for Indians to make that graduation to the world level.

"The level of rallying is good in India now. However, there are changes to be made to give opportunities to Indians to drive faster cars. This will help our drivers to get to the world rally stage faster.

"But for now, the first step has been taken. With financial worries not present at the back of Naren's mind, it will surely be easier for him to concentrate on his driving. India now has a representation in a championship that is considered the Formula One of rallying. This could be one of the turning points in the history of Indian motorsport.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Suven Life gets drug patents in Russia, Australia

Hyderabad-based biopharmaceutical company Suven Life Sciences Limited has secured product patents in Russia and Australia for two of its New Chemical Entities (NCEs) for the treatment of disorders associated with neuro-degenerative diseases. These patents are valid until 2023.

"We are very pleased by the issuance of these patents in these countries to Suven for our drug candidates that are being developed for Central Nervous system(CNS) disorders which targets a $18 billion potential market opportunity globally," Venkat Jasti, Chief Executive of Suven, stated in a press release.

These granted patents are exclusive intellectual property of Suven and are achieved through the exclusive internal discovery research efforts. Products out of these inventories, which are in pre-clinical development may be licensed at the clinical Phase-I or II stage.

The granted claims of the patents include the class of selective 5-HT compounds discovered by Suven which are being developed as therapeutic agents.

They are useful in the treatment of cognitive impairment associated with neuro-degenarative disorders like attention deficient hyperactivity, Alzheimer's, Parkinson, Schizophrenia and Huntington's.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Big Blue's next level emerges in Austin

Next supercomputer is taking shape here, but will reside in Illinois.
Ravi Arimilli is the Austin-based head of global team

URBANA, Ill. — The world's next huge scientific supercomputer will have strong Austin roots, but it will make its home on the sprawling campus of the University of Illinois in the heart of the Prairie State's farm country.

The big machine, called Blue Waters, will be built by IBM Corp. with an extraordinary level of innovation. Much of the work is being done in Austin, where the computer's crucial brain chip, Power7, is being designed.

Ravi Arimilli is the Austin-based chief architect for Blue Waters, heading a global technical team of a few thousand engineers and software experts driving the $208 million project.

When it goes online in 2011, Blue Waters is expected to be 30 times more powerful than Ranger, the current scientific computing speed champion at the University of Texas. Ranger has roughly the power of 30,000 desktop computers; Blue Waters will equal 900,000.

Scientists already are lining up to get time on the new computer, which is expected to deliver big payoffs in such areas as advanced modeling of human cells and climate forces, and better ways of coupling hurricane models with ways of predicting onshore storm surge, according to officials at the University of Illinois.

IBM also plans to use the design as a foundation for other high-powered computers it will market to government agencies, aerospace and energy companies, and corporations that need intense computing power to handle mountains of data.

Arimilli's team and Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications are working in a tight partnership to make sure that Blue Waters delivers on the promises made to the National Science Foundation, which is footing the bill.

Several universities competed for the project. Arimilli says he pushed for Illinois because it was where he saw the best chance of building the deep technical partnership that the project required.

IBM has had to share some of its most prized technical secrets with Illinois so the school can begin crafting new software to run on the computer.

"One thing that led us to Illinois was their culture," Arimilli said. "The model of trust and collaboration is so sincere on both sides."

The teams face a formidable workload over the next three years before they can claim victory with Blue Waters. "There will only be a medal to pin on when we are successful," said Thom Dunning, director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Scientists who are using UT's Ranger say the Austin computer is delivering research payoffs, some of which will be disclosed in formal research papers being prepared in the next few months. Blue Waters will provide an even more powerful tool for more complex research problems.

Klaus Schulten, a leading University of Illinois researcher in molecular dynamics, is making extensive use of Ranger to model how the microscopic components of cells interact to handle vital functions. He has already applied for access to Blue Waters, which, he said, "gets us closer to the mystery of life than we have every got before."

Arimilli drives his team with the vision of making computer history. Most of the computer industry pushes forward at the rate of the celebrated Moore's Law, in which performance doubles every 18 months.

But with Blue Waters, the goal is to prove his newly coined "Arimilli's Law," which holds that a dedicated and talented technical team that has five years and hefty financial support can improve performance by 100 times.

When Arimilli described his "law" to IBM's senior management, chief executive Sam Palmisano issued a challenge. If the law were true, he said, then the Blue Waters team ought to be able to accomplish another 100-times leap in performance in the five years after the Illinois computer is completed.

Arimilli agreed that IBM can accomplish the next great leap forward if the substantial money can be found to support the necessary intensive study and technical innovation.

To support its current round of technical innovations, IBM has depended on a $242 million research grant that it won in 2006 from the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop the hardware and software technology required for very high performance, easy-to-manage technical computers.

IBM has yet to release many technical details of Blue Waters. The computer contains thousands of high-powered Power7 processors, each of which has eight separate computing cores
The chip itself has extensive internal networking circuitry that speeds the interplay between the thousands of processors in the chip.

Along the way to building the computer, IBM had to invent a new networking and interconnect system for tying together different parts of the machine with very high-speed communications links.

"This is the dream of my professional lifetime," Arimilli said. With the huge challenge of completing Blue Waters "the next three years are spoken for."


Amara Raja promoters plan holding company

Founders of Amara Raja Batteries (Ramachandra Naidu Galla) plan to form a holding company, representing six companies including Amara Raja Infra, in a bid to sell stake to overseas investors.

Amara Raja Batteries, the only listed company in the group, is 26 per cent owned by US-based Johnson Controls.

The formation of the holding company would be the first step in taking the group to global investors, though no immediate plans have been made in this regard, Jayadev Galla, managing director, Amara Raja Batteries.

"In the past, we have gone to public once (ARBL), raised some debt and brought in some strategic investors (into the group companies), but nothing exciting beyond that," he said.

Galla plans to turn his group into a Fortune 500 corporation in the next two decades.

The Rs 1,400 crore, Tirupati-headquartered group has diversified interest with listed company ARBL being the largest with an estimated turnover of over Rs 1,000 crore in FY08.

The other group companies are Amara Raja Power Systems, Mangal Precisions Products, Amara Raja Electronics and Galla Foods. The newly- formed Amara Raja Infra, which is also completely owned by the family, will be handling all infrastructure works for group companies such as civil works.

"The first step is to consolidate the family holding in the group companies," he added. Formal announcement on the formation of a holding corporation is expected to be made in two months.

The group's flagship, ARBL, plans to invest Rs 200 crore in the current financial year to expand capacity to make industrial and automotive batteries. Half of the fresh investment will be funded through debts with the rest coming from internal accruals.

Additionally, the company is also considering setting up a greenfield plant in Haridwar.
A new plant in the north would allow the company to access retail market in the region and cover automobile companies at lower cost, Galla said. The company at present makes batteries in Tirupati.


Galla Foods, maker of fruit pulp and juices, recently forayed into the domestic retail market with the launch of a mango juice brand in Tirupati and Hyderabad.

This company until recently, was an export-oriented unit. Plans are on to take this beverage brand nationally by end of FY09.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ex.Minister Katta Subrahmanyam Naidu wins Hebbal assembly constituency

Mr.Katta Subramanya Naidu (BJP), former Minister has been elected from Hebbal constituency, Bangalore city.

This Kamma guy is EAMCET Engineering topper in AP

Gangineni Lokesh (S/o Jaipal, Chittor Dist) of Sri Chaitanya Educational Institutions Tirupathi took the first rank in the engineering stream EAMCET secured 159 marks.

This Kamma guy is UPSC (IAS) All India topper

Adapa Karthik (A Kamma doctor) of Khammam in Andhra Pradesh, who has topped the Civil Services Examination-2007 conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, is playing down his achievement.

“I am still thinking whether to opt for the Indian Administrative Service or continue with my training at the National Police Academy in Hyderabad. Honestly, I am a little indifferent to the result. The civil service is such an exam where there is not much difference between the person who has topped and the one who has secured the 200th rank.”

“It is an academic achievement. My real accomplishment would be when I am able to sustain my hard work and even 30 years later my work is recognised,” said the 28-year-old achiever, who wants to interact with students and motivate them to work for rural development of the country.

An MBBS graduate from the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha, Karthik is now undergoing training at the National Police Academy. He cleared the Indian Police Service in 2004 and 2006 when he secured the 166th and 148th rank respectively.

Adapa Karthik Gives up Harvard scholarship, Tops civil services 2008
Adapa Karthik, who topped this year's civil services examination, had an 'incomparable determination' to get selected for the service and has even foregone the Harvard research scholarship for this purpose, his teacher and coach P S Raveendran said.

"His determination is incomparable. He is very hardworking and in fact opted to do away with a Harvard University scholarship for research to take up civil services exam. I am happy and quite satisfied with Karthik coming out on top in the civil services exam," Raveendran said.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lanco in revamp mode

Mumbai, May 20: Lanco Infratech is in the process of forming a holding company to bring all its power projects under one roof.

“We have appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers for restructuring the power business. They are working on that. A report from them is expected in a month,” Lanco managing director Venkatesh Babu said.

Lanco Infratech has a 600MW portfolio now, which, according to Babu, will double this year.
The company aims to generate 13,000 MW by 2013.


“We have already received financial closure for 6,000MW,” Babu said.

Asked whether the holding company would be listed on the domestic bourses, Babu said it could wait since the company had enough funds to carry out projects for another one-and-a-half years.
“After that, we may look at listing the firm, but that is not going to happen before the first or second quarter of the next fiscal,” he added.


Babu said Lanco was on the lookout for coal mines abroad, but nothing had been finalised so far.

Humpy Koneru finishes 2nd in Mumbai Mayor's International Chess Tournament

Mumbai, 20 May: In a thrilling 11th and last round of the Mumbai Mayor's International Chess Tournament, overnight sole leader, Michael Kransenow who was assured of the title with a round to spare, was not content with a draw and went for a win against his Uzebk opponent, grandmaster Anton Fillipov of Uzbekistan.

However; in a winning position he made a mistake and lost the game.
This allowed Fillipov and as also players occupying the second spot, grandmaster Koneru Humpy, grandmaster Abhijit Kunte from India, grandmaster Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh and grandmaster Saidali Iuldachev of Uzbekistant catch up with Kransenkow by scoring the win over their respective rivals.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Suven Life gets two product patents in S Africa, China

Hyderabad, 20 May: Suven Life Sciences Ltd (Venkat Jasti, Chairman and MD) announced on Tuesday that two of their new chemical entities (NCEs) were granted product patents in South Africa and China for the treatment of disorders associated with neuro-degenerative diseases. These patents are valid until 2024 and 2025 respectively.

Products out of these inventories, which are in pre-clinical development may be licensed out at the stage of clinical phase-I or phase-II stage
.

LMW setting up plant in China

Coimbatore, May 19 Textile machinery manufacturing major Lakshmi Machine Works (D.Jayavardhanavelu Chairman and MD) plans to set up a greenfield project in China to manufacture textile spinning machinery.

“It would be a wholly owned subsidiary of LMW and only complement our operations,” LMW’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr Rajendran.

The company has identified three geographies and would select one, Mr Rajendran said, preferring not to reveal the location and estimated investment. He, however, indicated that the company would opt for an industrial park.

“Since the infrastructure in such industrial parks would be in place, though not according to our specifications, the gestation period will not be long. We envisage to kick start the operations in about a year and will start with one product,” he said.

He said the company proposed to mop up the investment partly through equity capital, loan assistance from LMW and borrowings in China.

Asked why China, Mr Rajendran said “it is the largest consumer of textile machinery with an installed spindleage of 90 million, compared to 38 million spindles in India. We cannot afford to keep out of China.”

Reverting to performance, he said the company has not effected a price revision in the last three years.

LMW posted a net profit of Rs 60 crore for the quarter ended March 2008 compared with Rs 68.62 crore the corresponding quarter of the earlier fiscal, its top line increased to Rs 603.99 crore (Rs 549.18 crore). The board recommended a final dividend of Rs 25 equity share of Rs 10 each for 2007-08 , taking the total to Rs 450 against Rs 400 a share in 2006-07.

Asked if the company was contemplating a price revision, Mr Rajendran said “we want to watch the steel price movement. It has not stabilised yet.”

Can LMW afford to maintain the price at the existing levels? “If there is an unabated increase in the cost of inputs, we would probably review. But, the prices are market-driven today and not based on production cost.”

To tide over such situations, the company constantly evolved and rolled out newer products. “Such roll outs add value and absorb a portion of the increase in cost,” he said.

LMW has exhibited three new products — both in the preparatory and spinning line — at the Munich show this year. These are expected to be introduced to the India market soon.
He admitted that the operational costs had gone up by 2- 2.5 per cent in the last one year, but VAT and deemed export due to EPCG benefit went a long way in helping the company tide over the crisis.

Mr Rajendran further said that LMW benefited from the interest earnings. The company has parked over Rs 500 crore in banks and the interest from these deposits “is better”.

In keeping pace with demand, the company has reduced its delivery period from 24 and 30 months to just about a year now. “We take about 8 to 10 months for projects and 4 to 8 months on unitary demand proposals. Invariably, we negotiate and refix delivery schedules.”

To a query on the market prospects, he said “we may not grow as in the past. TUF has been a driving force. We however are confident of maintaining our present market share of 60 to 63 per cent. The present lull is only a temporary phenomenon. The mills would have to eventually modernise, automate and upgrade their plant and machinery to sustain, grow and compete. And, we will introduce newer value added products at regular intervals.”

Lanco Infratech to raise USD 200mn for realty business

Lanco Infratech, the flagship company of the Hyderabad-based Lanco Group, today said it is in talks with a couple of overseas private equity palyers to raise USD 200 million for its realty business.

"We are in discussion with a couple of private equity players abroad to raise up to USD 200 million for our realty business," Lanco Infratech's Managing Director Venkatesh Babu told PTI.

The deal could materialise in the next six months, he said.

Lanco Infratech, the holding company for Lanco Group's power, realty and infrastructure projects, is developing a township in Hyderabad over a 20 million sq ft area entailing an investment of Rs 6,500 crore.

It would also develop another township in Chennai on five million sq ft area for which it has already acquired land. Work on this Rs 1,500 crore project is expected to start in the next six months, he said.

Babu said the company is also looking at opportunities for developing townships in Bangalore and Gurgaon. "These are, however, at nascent stages. We are, in fact, presently talking to potential sellers of land in these areas," he said.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meghana Paritala, Hannes Named First MVC Scholar-Athlete

University of Northern Iowa women's tennis seniors Meghana Paritala and Carolina Hannes were both named to the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete first team the league .

To be eligible for selection to the team, a student-athlete must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, be at least a sophomore in academic and athletic standing and participate as a starter or important reserve role for her team. A minimum of two votes was required to earn honorable mention and the league's tennis sports information directors voted on this award.

Hannes is first in career singles wins in UNI history and has a career record of 85-40 in singles play. She was named honorable mention MVC-Scholar-Athlete in 2007. Hannes has won six of her eight MVC matches this season and is 15-5 in dual meet singles matches this season. She also ranks fourth on the UNI all-time career winning percentage list, and seventh on the UNI all-time career doubles wins list with 66 career wins.


Meghana Paritala is tied for second all-time on the UNI career singles wins list and has a career record of 84-43. She ranks fourth on the UNI all-time career doubles wins list, with 77 career wins, and eighth all-time in school history in career singles winning percentage.

Senior Meghana Paritala finished her Panther career in a tie for second on the all-time career wins list. Paritala played No. 1 singles her first three years and played primarly No. 2 singles this season. Paritala was 13-18 this season.

Karthikeyan hopes to ride A1GP back to F1

'DO WELL IN A1 - SOMEBODY WILL NOTICE'
Indian driver Kakarla Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan intends to stay with the A1 GP series next year but hasn't given up on a
Formula-1 comeback.

"I'll continue doing A1 but I want to have another crack at F1," he said.

Karthikeyan joined the then Jordan team in 2005 to became India's first F1 driver. He won two A1GP race in the season that has just finished and is hoping India's growing corporate interestin motor racing will grease his return to F1.

"If you do well in A1GP, somebody is bound to notice," said the 31-year-old. "I have backing from the right companies in India and, unlike other countries, there are not many drivers here trying to get into F1."

Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya bought into the Spyker F1 team in 2007 and renamed it Force India and that country will have its first F1 GP in 2010. A1 organisers want two races there.

Karthikeyan, who raced for the Jordan team in 2005 and was a tester for Williams for two seasons, said he was in the right place at the right time with Ferrari designing A1's cars and engines for the coming next season.

"With Ferrari coming into A1, it gives it that much more credibility," he said. "It'll practically be an F1 car, with carbon brakes, better tyres, more downforce."In A1 you go to every meeting with a chance to win. In F1, unless you are in the top three teams, it's very, very difficult."

Did you know?

Inspector General of police, Jammu range: Kondaveeti Rajendra Kumar, IPS

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Thiruvananthapuram: Yendluri Anil Kumar, IPS

Superintendent of police, Mandi district (Himachal Pradesh): Movva Chandrasekhar, IPS

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mitral Valve Leak Repaired Through Tiny Puncture Hole Using Live 3D Images

May 15, 2008 Houston: Physicians at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center at The Methodist Hospital in Houston now close certain types of leaky heart valves through a tiny puncture in the groin, using live 3D imaging for precise guidance. Methodist offers this combination treatment as an alternative to open heart surgery.

Drs. Sashi Guthikonda (Native of Tenali, grown up in Hyderabad) and Neal Kleiman, interventional cardiologists at Methodist, recently used a catheter to close a leak surrounding a 65 year old patient’s mitral valve, rather than exposing her to a potential 4th open heart surgery. The leak was causing such damage to her blood that she was constantly weak and needed multiple blood transfusions.

“Many physicians and cardiologists don’t know this procedure is available at all, but closing a leaky valve this way saves our patients from the trauma of open heart surgery,” said Guthikonda, who learned this procedure during his fellowship at Emory University Medical Center. “This procedure, which only requires a 3 mm incision, leads to significantly less pain, much faster recovery and much lower overall risk than surgery.”

Clank! Kollipara, Devils celebrate state titles

May 15, 2008 Illinois: The clanking noise that Hinsdale Central students might have heard briefly in the school hallways Monday was the sound of the Red Devils badminton team making history. That's what happened when senior Karishma Kollipara tried to wear her two latest state medals -- one that she earned as expected for her third state singles championship and the other for the Red Devils' unexpected first state team championship in the sport Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

"We all wore our medals to school, but mine kept clanking so I had to take them off," Kollipara said. "All of (my state singles titles) have been great, but this one is the most exciting because it's the first time we won as a team. It was a huge achievement."

Kollipara earned half of Hinsdale Central's 14 points that surpassed runners-up Hinsdale South and Lincoln-Way Central (12 apiece) with Andrew (10.5) fourth and Fremd (10) fifth. Kollipara (47-0) beat Lincoln-Way Central's Kelly Byar 21-13, 21-10 in the championship match to finish 6-0 at state, allowing no more than 20 points in any other match.

Kollipara finished her career with a 146-1 record with the only loss coming to graduated Lindsey Gibbel of Prospect 11-6, 11-7 in last year's state final."I felt a lot more confident and a lot more relaxed because I knew what I did wrong last year," Kollipara said.

"I was just more ready mentally."Kollipara joined York's Linda French (1979, 1981-82) and Downers Grove South's Erin Hois (1998, 2000-01) as the only three-time singles champions in the 32-year history of the state tournament.

"She was focused," Niemann said of Kollipara. "She wanted that title back. She knew she worked hard. I could tell after the first couple points that there was no way she was going to lose
."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rear Adm Niranjan Kumar Nadella conferred with Gallantry Award

New Delhi, May 14: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil conferred 27 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals to senior officers of the Armed Forces for distinguished service of an exceptional order.
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal was given to Rear Admiral Niranjan Kumar Nadella.

Ghatothkach to release on May 23

Mayabazar’s character Ghatothkach will be released on May 23rd. It is an animation film being made in seven languages -- English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali.

This film will be the best summer treat for the children this year. There were 35 cameras employed for filming, the first time a technique like this was adopted for animation films shot in India. I am confident that the film will be released by May 23rd. The Telugu version will be released next week by T-Series, the Hindi version will be released by PVR Cinemas and the Tamil version by Ayngaran International, Producer Suryadevara Vinod said.

Animation film "Ghatotkach - Master of Magic" will be screened at the 61st Cannes film festival on May 17.

Lanco Infratech consortium wins 80 bln rupees port project in Kerala

Hyderabad-based Lanco Infratech Limited consortium has won the bid for development of the $2-billion (Rs 8,000 crore) Vizhinjam International Container Port project in Kerala. Lanco has tied up with Pembinan Radzai Sdn. Bhd (PRSB), Malaysia.

India's largest container transshipment port project would be developed in four phases with an ultimate capacity of 6.5 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units).

The first phase would be completed in 60 months and the remaining three phases would be initiated after reaching the stipulated traffic levels, according to Lagadapati Madhusudhana Rao, Managing Director, Lanco Infratech Limited.

The company will raise 70 per cent of the required funds through debt and the remaining through equity. The financial closure would be two years down the line. "This is the first major port for Lanco Infratech,'' he said, adding it was currently building a captive coal terminal for its power project at Mangalore.

The Vizhinjam port, situated about 16 km south off Thiruvananthapuram and at 10 nautical miles from international sea routes connecting Europe, Persian Gulf and Far East, when developed would attract a fair share of the container transshipment traffic meant for India, currently handled by international ports at Colombo, Malaysia, Al-Salalah (Oman) and Singapore, he said.

The Kerala government had called for bids in August 2007 through Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited on a 33-year concession basis.

NCC-Maytas, Videocon-Gammon-Sical, Apollo Enterprise-DS Construction, and Zoom Developers-Portia Management Services were the other contenders for the project, according to a release.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Indian origin researchers software helps beef up airport security

Washington: Computer scientists at University of Southern California, including an Indian origin researcher, Praveen Paruchuri, (A Kamma guy) have written software that may help improve vigilance against terrorist attacks.

The software called ARMOR, already being used to beef up security
at LAX airport in Los Angeles, has been developed as part of a DHS-sponsored research project.

Praveen Paruchuri tested the software along with Professor Milind Tambe, who is associated with the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), a DHS Center of Excellence based at USC.

The researchers say that the software records the locations of routine, random vehicle checkpoints and canine searches at the airport, and thereby helps pinpoint any security breaches or suspicious activity.

The software, thus, provides the police with a model of where to go, and when.
It makes random decisions on the basis of calculated probabilities of a terrorist attack at those locations. The software uses mathematical algorithms for making such calculations.

What the airport was doing before was not truly statistically random; it was simply mixing things up. What they have now is systematized, true randomization, said computer science professor Milind Tambe, who is associated with the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), a DHS Center of Excellence based at USC.

Tambe revealed that the software completed its six-month trial recently, and that airport officials had asked them to transfer the software over to them on a more permanent basis.
He also said that other airports, agencies, and business organisations were also showing interest in their software.

As to what may happen if terrorists get hold of ARMOR, Tambe said: Even if they got the software and all the inputs, itd be like rolling 50 different dice and expecting to correctly roll one combination of all 50 pairs.

Natco Pharma gets national award

Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma Ltd has been conferred with the national award for its indigenous development of life saving anti-cancer drugs. The Technology Development Board’s annual award 2008, for successful commercialisation of indigenous technology, given on the occasion of the Technology Day (May 11), was received by the company’s Chairman and Managing Director, Mr V.C. Nannapaneni, and Dr A.K.S. Bhujanga Rao, President (R&D), Dr A.K.S. Bhujanga Rao, i n New Delhi on Sunday.

L.G. Ramamurthi passes away

Mr L.G. Ramamurthi, Chairman emeritus of Coimbatore-based Sara Elgi group of companies connected with textile and engineering, passed away this afternoon after a brief illness. Mr Ramamurthi, 76, is survived by his son, Mr Sumanth Ramamurthi, managing director of Super Spinning Mills Ltd, and two daughters. Sara Elgi group under the leadership of Mr Ramamurthi remained well-diversified and took new business initiatives. Among the new ventures it undertook include building products development and contract farming of cotton with thrust on seed R and D. Belonging to the illustrious LRG Naidu family (founder of the Elgi group), Mr Ramamurthi was associated with various public service and sport activities and he has also been on the board of Elgi Equipments Ltd and Magna Electro Castings Ltd.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Karthikeyan's return to Formula One is uncertain

CHENNAI: Kakarla Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan would have been pleased as punch to finish the A1 Grand Prix season on a winning note at his favourite race circuit, Brands Hatch, England, last Sunday. But, after becoming the first Indian to drive in a Formula One race in 2005 when he signed up with Jordan, Narain seems to have lost his plot.

He spent the last two seasons in racing wilderness as a test driver for Williams, a role that increasingly became decorative, and the decision to move to A1 GP as the Team India driver, has not helped his cause any better.

Now, at 31, the road ahead for Narain is unclear. He appears well entrenched in A1 GP driving for Team India. Two victories this season, at Zhuhai and Brands Hatch, came after a string of failures as he grappled with a poorly equipped team in terms of quality race engineers.

Although Narain did not admit as much, he did hint that Team India was in need of an overhaul by way of hiring top notch engineers who could turn things around. Thus, driving a car lacking in pace in the A1 GP was no different from his days at the cash-strapped Jordan that was eventually sold twice in as many years to become today's Force India.

However, few could visualise the downturn in his career a decade ago when during his three seasons in British Formula 3 series between 1998 and 2000, Narain held out promise and potential.

He had the pace and was daring. His wins at Spa, Brands Hatch and Korean Super Prix besides a few pole positions and podium finishes were creditable achievements that were expected to provide him the leg-up to the next level of racing. Unfortunately, the Indian Media was not yet up to speed in its motorsports coverage and his results barely attracted attention at home.

However, these performances earned him test drives with Jaguar and Jordan in 2001. But then, inadequate funding and consequent move to Formula Nippon and Nissan World Series delayed Narain's entry into F1. When he finally "arrived", he was stuck with Jordan that virtually had two wheels over the cliff.

The Tata Group backed him quite substantially, but Narain needed bigger moneybags for a race seat in a better team. His failure to even grab a podium finish behind the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello at the 2005 Indy race, where only six cars contested, was a huge blow to his chances of a second F1 season as a racing driver.

The launch of A1 GP provided Narain an opportunity to keep himself in racing trim and public memory. Here too, it was the same old tale of promising and not delivering. It effectively left his racing career in a limbo as events overtook him.

His dreams of returning to F1 with a race seat further diminished as younger, hungrier, and talented kids snapped up vacancies quicker than you could say Narain Karthikeyan! The introduction of the GP2 championship in 2005 as a feeder series to F1 did provide an option for Narain, but he chose to remain in F1 even if only as a test driver.

Further, his love-hate relationship with the Indian media only highlighted the lack of communication skills on his part or, for that matter, of his managers. The two seasons at Williams virtually took him off the sports pages. A few road shows with his sponsors barely evoked media interest at a time when he needed to be visible.

Team India tried to rescue the situation by offering media junkets to his A1 races, but with results not forthcoming, there was precious little to write home about.

Today, despite the "historic" win at Zhuhai and success at Brands Hatch, Narain faces an uncertain future in the context of his return to Formula One. Although the A1 GP is to receive Ferrari engines for their next season, the so-called World Cup of Motorsport is still a poor option for F1 as compared to the high-profile GP2 series.

When Vijay Mallya bought Spyker and renamed it Force India, it was speculated that Narain would be offered a drive as the two made a good fit in terms of hyping up Indian interests and viewership. But Mallya's priorities have more to do with business than sentiments, and Narain did not even figure on his radar.

While Narain is struggling to keep his career on track, a couple of other Indians, Karun Chandhok and Armaan Ebrahim, are snapping at his heels. Karun has already tested for Red Bull F1 team and is in line for a drive next year. He, along with Armaan, is doing the GP2 series.

Thus, with new and fresh Indian faces arriving on the scene, Narain perhaps is facing the biggest challenge yet as he attempts to find his way back to Formula One.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rakindo plan to set up $250-m arm may get okay

Chennai-based real estate developer Rakindo Developers’ proposal to set up a wholly owned subsidiary with $250-million FDI from Dubai-based Rakeen Development is expected to get Cabinet clearance on Thursday.

Rakindo has plans of building a $1.5-billion (Rs 6,000- crore) integrated township at Coimbatore which will be ready for launch after the CCEA clears the FDI proposal. The plan envisages developing over 1,000 acres of property with an 18-hole golf course as the centerpiece. Rakindo is proposed to be a holding company that will promote investments in several SPVs to develop and operate townships. It is a joint venture company formed by Rakeen, a joint stock global business company promoted by the Ral Al Khaimah group, UAE and the Chennai based mineral conglomerate Trimex group owned by Koneru Prasad.

The newly formed real estate company has already obtained FIPB approval to invest and hold downstream investments in
Companies formed for the Coimbatore project.

FIPB had considered the Rakindo proposal in March, which was subsequently approved by different ministries including the department of industrial policy and promotion, department of economic affairs and the ministry of urban development. Built around the concept of “walk to work culture”, the Coimbator project plans to have an IT SEZ, speciality hospital besides commercial and residential complexes. The CCEA will also consider another proposal by Essar Power Ltd Mumbai for FIPB approval to operate as a holding company.
Commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland appointed Vinod K Dasari, who was the Chief Operating Officer, as the Wholetime Director on the board.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NATCO scouting for retail chains in US

Hyderabad, May 10:Natco Pharma Ltd is scouting for drug retail chains in the US to further strengthen its retail business segment.
“We are in the process of considering some retail chains for a possible buy and interested in buying some big candidates,” Mr Bhaskara Narayana, Vice-President (Finance), Natco Pharma, told.


The Hyderabad-based company has acquired three drug stores in the US so far – Newark Drugs, Nicks Drugs and SaveMart Drugs – which contributed about $38 million revenue out of an approximate total revenue of Rs 350 crore in 2007-08.

The strengthening of retail business augurs well for the anti-cancer drug manufacturer in view of its profitability. “There is about 8 per cent net profit in retail business in the US. In addition, we can have a channel for our own products and understand the markets in a better way,” Mr Narayana said.

Rs 50-cr INVESTMENT

The company is investing about Rs 50 crore in augmenting its production capacity. “A plant for manufacturing of formulations and injectibles and an export oriented unit for cytotoxic injectibles are being set up at Dehradun in Uttarakhand and Kottur in Andhra Pradesh, respectively which will be ready in the next six to eight months,” the Natco official said.

The R&D division has readied two new compounds for the treatment of blood cancer and lung cancer. “We are expecting approval from the Government for clinical trails. The Phase I trails will begin soon,” he said.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Global Hospitals expanding in Karnataka

The hub and spoke model is increasingly being adopted to deliver high-end healthcare in smaller cities and one of the newest hospital chains to use this expansion route is the Global Hospital.
(Dr. Kancherla Ravindranath, Chairman and Managing Director).

With seemingly deep pockets funded through debt and equity, the chain is there in Mumbai, spreading itself across South India and set to enter Kolkata too.

With Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad as the hubs as of now, the Hyderabad-headquartered Global Hospital is using the organic and inorganic routes of expansion.

The group commenced operations of the 500-bed BGS Global Hospital, a super-speciality and tertiary care hospital in Bangalore which is a joint venture between the BGS Trust and Global Hospitals, built on a 50-acre campus of BGS Health and Education City. The total investment in the facility is about Rs 170 crore. The group aims to have five spokes for every hub.

The spokes of the BGS Global Hospital are the 60-bed Diwakar Hospital, a 20-bed hospital in Ramanagaram, on the outskirts of Bangalore which will be converted into a 100-bed hospital, a 65-bed hospital in Vijaynagar and is also looking at acquiring another hospital.

"This model is used to leverage a group's resources to penetrate areas where full-fledged tertiary care is not feasible. The spokes offer primary care and diagnostic services and the hub offers elective treatment or tertiary care," said Dr N K Venkataramana, Vice Chairman and Chief of Neurosciences, BGS Global Hospital.

The group's expansions have been funded by Indiavision India Partners of the Future Group and with money from a HNI from the US, Dr Harinath Policherla, and with loans from IDB and Union Bank.

By 2009, the group intends to achieve a bed strength of over 2,000 beds, across different locations and plans to add 5,000 beds subsequently. A spoke can cost the group up to Rs 8 crore and could be as low as Rs 1 crore, if it has most of the infrastructure.

Global Hospitals had earlier acquired the 450-bed Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Shankara Hospital for Rs 257 crore. In Mumbai the group is building a 300-bed tertiary care hospital at Lower Parel. The hospital is expected to be ready by March, 2009.

The group is also setting up a 750-bed hospital in Kolkata for which the state has allotted land. The hospital, billed as a major organ transplant centre, will depend on other super specialities like neuro-trauma, cardiac and lung care, and stem cell therapy for its main revenue stream.

"We want to involve local partners in the greenfield ventures," said a top official of Global Hospital. The group will hold a 70 per cent stake and the rest will be held by five-six top doctors from Mumbai, who will be associated with the hospital full-time.

Solar Semiconductor ties up with Motech of Taiwan

Hyderabad-based photovoltaic (PV) modules producer Solar Semiconductor has entered into a strategic partnership with Motech Industries Inc of Taiwan for the supply of PV cells valued at about $360 million (Rs 1,440 crore).

Through this partnership, Motech will be supplying PV cells to Solar Semiconductor and cooperate with the latter to explore processing wafers for conversion into cells.
"We have been growing rapidly in recent months and will continue that growth in the coming years. Our focus on quality and customer care has created significant demand for our PV modules. So, it is essential for Solar Semiconductor to obtain more quality cells at competitive prices," Chief Executive Officer of Solar Semiconductor, Hari Surapaneni, stated in a press release
.

List of Kamma Mayors in AP

Rayapati Mohana Sai Krishna: Mayor-Guntur
Mrs.Anne Prasanna: Deputy Mayor-Vijayawada
K.Dorabbai: Deputy Mayor-Visakhapatnam

Prof.Suryadevara Mahendra Dev appointed Chairman of CACP

Prof.Suryadevara Mahendra Dev appointed as new Chairman of Commision for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Prof. S. Mahendra Dev is an economist who has written extensively on agricultural development, poverty and public policy, food security, employment guarantee schemes, social security, farm and non-farm employment. He did his Ph.D from the Delhi School of Economics and his Post-doctoral research at the Economic Growth Centre, Yale University and was faculty member at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai for 11years.

He has been a consultant to many international organizations like the UNDP, World Bank, International Food Policy Research Institute, ESCAP and has also worked as a member in committees set up by the Government of India. He was member 11th Planning Commision. He is presently Director, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Galla Foods forays into Indian beverage mkt

Launches Galla Thick Mango in Hyderabad.

Chittoor-based exporter of tropical purees, concentrates and fresh fruits Galla Foods Private Limited (GFPL), owned by the promoter family of the Rs 1,300-crore Amara Raja Group, on Monday launched its mango nectar product – Galla Thick Mango — in Hyderabad. This marks the company's entry into the Indian fruit beverage market.

"Around 54 per cent of the consumers in the Indian beverage market are in age group of 16-30. Besides, there is a declining trend in the consumption of carbonated drinks.

This has created growth opportunities for fresh juices, and we would be addressing this fast growing youth segment with our product," Ramachandra N Galla, chairman of Galla Foods, told mediapersons here.

At present, packaged natural fruit beverage market in India is pegged at Rs 1,500 crore and growing at 15 per cent year-on-year, of which mango and mango-blend beverages account for around Rs 1,200 crore.

Stating that the company's primary focus was on dominating the mango category by introducing multiple variants, he said they were currently going through the evaluation process for launch of prepackaged fruit juice combinations including guava and papaya during this financial year.

"We will be launching the product in the rest of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the next few months. Our idea is to have a pan-India presence, covering 150 cities and towns, by mid 2009," he said, adding that the company expected Thick Mango to contribute around 12 per cent to its revenues this fiscal.

Thus far, GFPL had invested close to Rs 70 crore in its manufacturing plants situated on 100 acres, closer to the tropical fruit orchards in Chittoor. This covered doubling the pulp and puree processing capacity to 500 tonne a day, besides setting up a new beverage line with 730,000 litres capacity per month.

"The expansion, coupled with the launch of our mango beverage, is expected to fuel our topline to touch Rs 75 crore this fiscal, as against Rs 40 crore last year," Jay Galla, director of GFPL, said.

Suven secures European patent

Suven Life Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company based here, has secured a product patent from the European Patent Office (EPO) for its clinical candidate SUVN-502, valid until June 2023.

The product is being developed for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. It can be used in the treatment of cognitive impairments associated with neuro-degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or memory loss associated with aging and schizophrenia.

"The potential global market for these symptoms is more than $18 billion people. Getting this patent for our clinical candidate SUVN-502 is more timely and relevant now as it is being used in clinical trials. Securing patent protection for our discoveries enhances the value of our technologies and products substantially," Venkat Jasti, chief executive officer, Suven, stated in a press release.

According to Jasti, the product is an exclusive intellectual property of Suven and has been achieved through internal discovery research efforts. With this, Suven has been granted four European product patents, all of them validated in the 37 member countries of Europe including major markets like Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Finland.

In addition to this, Suven has obtained four product patents from the US, three from India and two each from Australia, Eurasia, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Narain Karthikeyan wins the final A1 Grand Prix of 2007-08 season at Great Britain

BRANDS HATCH (Great Britain): Narain Karthikeyan secured India's first ever pole position in the Feature race of A1GP, World Cup of Motorsport, after pipping host nation's Robbie Kerr in the qualifying session of the season-ending race at the Brands Hatch circuit on Sunday.

Watch: Narain grabs pole at Brands Hatch

Karthikeyan, India's first Formula One driver, recorded 1 min 14:682 seconds in the second session to earn himself a brilliant chance to end the season on a winning note. Kerr finished 0.227 seconds behind the Indian to be placed second and thus missing the chance to earn second pole position of the event after taking pole position in Sprint. Karthikeyan slipped to overall fifth in the Sprint race after Jonathan Summerton of the USA and Adam Carroll of Ireland raced brilliantly in the second session to pip the Indian. Kerr recorded a timing of 1:14:424 in his second session while Karthikeyan raced the best lap with 1:15:040 in the first session.

Earlier, Karthikeyan had recorded the third fastest lap in the morning practice session, giving ample hints of what was in store for the Indian team. In the penultimate race in Shanghai, Karthikeyan was placed fourth in the Sprint and fifth in the Feature race. Elated after finishing the qualifying session, Karthikeyan said he was happy with his performance and blamed the tyres for dropping to fifth in the Sprint.

"I always knew we had a car to be in the top three. I am happy with the performance. This is the last race of the season and last performance with this car. It is quite exciting," he said after the qualifying the session. "There was some problem in the tyre in the Sprint and that's why we dropped to fifth. It was a bit off or may be I did not warm it up enough. "I was also blocked by Mexico in the second session. It (5th position) is not bad but when compared to Pole, it looks.

We changed the tyre for the Feature and hope it would be okay," Karthikeyan added. India have so far one podium finish to their credit in the season as Kartikeyan had drove India to its first win at Zuhai in December. Now he has earned himself a chance to finish the season with a victory before getting behind the wheels of Ferrari cars from the next season. The Indian was also happy that his best performance came on his favourite circuit. "I have always done well at the Brands Hatch. It is my favourite circuit. I am always up there. And the consistency n the long run paid. The team also did well."

Karthikeyan had enough experience of driving at the circuit as he had raced here in two British F-3 races and in second season of the A1GP last year when he finished fourth. India's lead driver is now aiming to bring home the maximum points from Sunday's season ending race. "I am happy with our performance in this week but we need to capitalise on it and get maximum points. A1GP is growing and with Ferrari coming up it's going good," he said.