Akon Scientifec: Empowering Third Revolution Of medicine In India Via Mrna Vaccines & Rna Therapeutics

Shukkoor M. Kondengaden, Founder & CEO

Shukkoor M. Kondengaden

Founder & CEO

Owing to the aging population, the rate of chronic illness and geriatric diseases is growing dramatically, and people always need medicine and medical care. Conclusively, today comprehending the rising demands, drug innovation bodes well for most developing countries, including India. Most recently, triggered by the pandemic prevalence Biotech stocks were some of the best performers, among others, as they significantly outperformed the broader market.

Facing an uncertain global economy and slowing businesses, as many biotech startups made entries into the industry to equip the vast demography medicine needs, the Indian Biotechnology industry also grew manifolds. Today India is the 3rd largest biotech destination in the Asia Pacific region. In 2022, India’s Biotechnology industry has crossed $80.12 Bn growing from $70.2 Bn in 2021, while registering a CAGR of 14 percent. It is fast-growing because innovative treatments are powering profits at several drug companies. And now, it is cheap, as well.

The evolving biotechnology industry's achievements have proved to revolutionize the therapeutic and diagnostic fields too, leveraging diverse treatment options, and vastly extending the lives of patients whose chances of survival were previously slim. To cash in on these advancements in the long-term, as many scientists and researchers are running the race, spurring their businesses by using the power of biotechnology, the 2020 incepted biotech startup – Akon Scientific stands acknowledgeable. At the moment, everything including COVID and other cancer vaccines is connected to mRNA, and thereby as there is a lot of study going on in the mRNA field, Akon Scientific as a biotech startup holds an upper hand in providing clients with better quality reagents and services in molecular biology and RNA drug discovery. Though the company is just a year old, the Founder & CEO of Akon Scientific, Shukkoor M. Kondengaden (PhD), is proficiently leading it imbibing his 10 years of experience acquired in the field in the US.

The firm is effectively growing under the aegis of Shukkoor, and it majorly focuses on mRNA trade development. Having completed a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from Al Shifa College of Pharmacy (Calicut University), Kerala, and then a Master’s from NIPER Mohali, Shukkoor also holds Ph.D in Chemistry from Georgia State University, USA. Dr. Shukkoor is a synthetic medicinal chemist with experience in many areas of drug discovery, including small molecule synthesis, structure-based drug discovery, virtual screening, SAR investigations, and bioassay development. Also, he is engaged in a fascinating study that employs DNA-encoded libraries for affinity selection. Dr. Shukkoor incepted Akon Scientific in India in 2020 in search of business prospects in the areas of drug discovery, specifically in mRNA vaccine, Oligonucleotide therapies and Glycobiology related areas. Dr. Shukkoor is part of a world-class team of experts in Chemo Enzymatic synthesis, focusing nucleotide chemistry and carbohydrate chemistry, led by his Ph.D advisor Peng George Wang, co-developed several new technologies in this area. Later, these technologies were translated to commercial production, including GMP grade for pharmaceutical use. With the excellent core technology, backed up with strong infrastructure, Akon Scientific has a unique edge in the Indian market.

Today, Akon Scientific is one of the top vendors in the Mrna  sector and a reputable manufacturer of diagnostic reagents. With a global perspective, the business has also expanded across Boston, Atlanta, and Europe, opening its offices there. Given that India also wants to develop several drugs, particularly in the field of vaccines, like COVID, influenza, Rabies, and Zika vaccines, all of these things can be created utilizing mRNA technology. However, for proper management of this class of drugs cold chain logistics remains one of the biggest challenges for firms in this industry.

While firms must manage the cold chain logistics for drugs & reagents handling, they face little more challenges in tackling the shipping. Akon is working to address these issues and as a result, is planning to establish its own cold chain logistics, more so in important locations like Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, and Kerala. Well, it has already set its foot in Hyderabad and Bangalore, soon the company will have a few more warehouses and partners to deal with, and gradually from other bio hubs, will be able to deliver the products on the same day. Additionally, as research is fast-paced in this industry, keeping up with it, Akon is striving to go further. Ideally, it will be implementing the adjustments as they occur.

The Unprecedented Products & Services Portfolio

Akon Scientific identifies the importance of third revolution in drug discovery, RNA based therapeutics, and wanted to enable Indian companies to play a major role in this area as well. In this goal, Akon Scientific created a comprehensive solution providing platform including products and services in the area. And all included product lines from Nucleotide Triphosphates (NTPs) and their modified analogs, Cap analogs and intermediates, enzymes for the mRNA synthesis, purification reagents, lipids and excipients for the LNP formulation, and more, set company in unique proposition. The key chemical portfolio includes regular A, U, G, C triphosphates and N1-Me-Pseudouridine, all available in GMP grade and in Kg scale. Biochemistry portfolio includes enzymes like T7 polymerase, DNAse I, and RNAse I, and more to facilitate the IVT reaction. Akon is also capable of producing mRNA for clients and performing lipid encapsulation.

Akon Scientific’s top priorities are quality and thus centering everything around the customer needs it offers its customers highquality products at the most competitive price

Shukkoor M. Kondengaden, Founder & CEO

In addition to developing mRNA vaccines, Akon also works in the field of RNA therapies or oligonucleotides. Akon’s rapidly growing catalog has more than 100 variants of phosphoramidites for oligosynthesis and several target delivery vehicles like the tri-GalNAc. Today, nucleosides are greatly needed in the oligonucleotide industry as well, and the company supplies these nucleotides in kilogram quantities with a high-quality standard. “The quality and back integration of the materials is key in this area and we  have achieved such an excellent quality of products which when combined with competitive pricing, is outstanding amongst many”, says Dr. Shukkoor. Alongside revolutionizing mRNA drug discovery in India, Akon also provides several key molecular biology reagents, most importantly dNTPs Uricase, and more, for IVD kit developments. Akon vouches that its excellent quality of dNTPs could be a game changer in Indian market with a never seen before pricing strategy.

Quality the Differentiator

Shukkoor shares, “Speaking of quality, our top priorities are quality and everything centers around customer needs. We focus on offering our customers high-quality products at the most competitive price. Hence, we do enough testing to determine our product’s quality & efficiency, performing HPLC with different detectors, followed by the mass spec analysis and CE (Capillary electrophoresis) analysis. Our such attempt signifies products as 99+ percent pure. Even our customers have reported Akon’s product’s quality to be better than other competing providers, receiving ideal results, comparably”. Due to its superior technology, which can produce scales of products measuring kilos or thousands of liters, Akon is acclaimed in the market. Akon’s founding team is made up of young and enthusiastic members holding advanced degrees in core areas like medicinal chemistry, bioinformatics and data science, and they together want to use their knowledge and vision to transform the Indian R&D sector with top-notch auxiliary reagents.

Akon proud itself on bringing novel technologies in RNA therapeutics and manufacturing to India in the early stage of the third revolution and hope it can boost the R&D effort of companies developing RNA vaccines and RNA inhibitors. It will collaborate with numerous Indian small firms and create an ecosystem that will enable increasing in-house research. Along with the supply of RNA raw materials, the company will conduct much of its research and development in the molecular biology and In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) field. “The scientific work we are currently engaged in involves creating products/solutions for the detection of the pathological, such as some Influenza detection kits, COVID detection kits, Hemoglobin detection kits, Cholesterol detection kits, and more. And, we will manufacture these on a large scale. Precisely, in due time, we'll be making and enabling our clients to make products that compares and complies with the US standard and compete in global market.", concludes Shukkoor.

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