Microbiologist Girish Sahni, the erstwhile director of CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology in Chandigarh, has been appointed as the new director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which entails him to act as the secretary of Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) under the science and technology ministry.
Sahni obtained hius PhD from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru in 1984 after his research work in Protein Engineering, Molecular Biology, and Biotechnology. After a stint in the US for five years, Sahni returned home and joined CSIR-IMTECH in 1991 and became its director in 2005.
Sahni has often said that all bacteria is not bad and referred to Gut Microflora in the digestive tracts of animals and human beings, which are beneficial. Dr Sahni has contributed to the production technology for India’s first indigenous clot bluster drug, natural streptokinase and recombinant streptokinase. Above all, he says no antibiotic can beat pineapple juice in curing throat infection. Natural vinegar (acetic acid) was beneficial in diabetes, says Dr Sahni who has recently developed fourth-generation ‘anti-thrombotic’ clot busters for cardio-vascular diseases which have been commercialized in multi-million dollar collaborations.
Sahni was responsible for completing high-efficiency process package for production of Natural Streptokinase for the first time in India called STPase, which was commercially launched by Cadila Pharma Ltd. (Ahmedabad) in 2002.
His team has developed the process for recombinant Indian bovine species, buffalo and goat hormone production, which is ready to be transferred to industry. Other contributions of Sahni and his team include recombinant (rDNA-based) Streptokinase production successfully transferred to Shasun Drugs and Chemicals Ltd., Chennai. Even “Lupiflo” and “Klotbuster” launched in Indian market in July 2009 were developed by his team.
Sahni received the National Biotechnology Product and Process Development Award (for Protein Engg. and Molecular Biology) from the Indian government in 2002 and he was recipient of the 2001-02 CSIR Technology Shield for Natural Streptokinase Process development leading to successful commercialisation. He received the Vasvik Award in Biological Sciences in 2000, the Ranbaxy award (2003) in pharmaceutical sciences.
He is a feloow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, and the Association of Microbiologists of India.
His patent rights include:
• Shekhar Kumar, Neeraj Kumar Maheshwari and Girish Sahni. “Mutants of streptokinase and their covalently modified forms.” Indian Patent Application No. 0837/DEL/2008
• K.L. Dikshit, V.V. Vyas, R. Mahajan, J. Kaur, N. Thapar, J. Pratap, D.Nihalani and Girish Sahni. “A process for the extracellular preparation of streptokinase and its new analogs.” Patent application number 1727/DEL/94/dated 30.12.94. Patent No. 183828, granted 15.12.2000.
• Girish Sahni, Rajesh Kumar Gupta, Kummara Rajagopal, Vasudha Sundram, Deepak Nihalani, Chaiti Roy and Mahavir Yadav. “New fibrin clotspecific streptokinase proteins with altered plasminogen activation kinetics,and process for the preparation of said proteins.” Several patent applications have been filed in USA (Patent No. 7163817; granted in 2007), and Europe (No. 99310541) and India (190822; granted in 2005).
• G. Sahni, R. Kumar, C. Roy, K. Rajagopal, D.Nihalani, V.Sundaram and M. Yadav Novel clot specific streptokinase proteins processing altered plasminogen activation characteristics and a process for the preparation of said proteins. EP Patent No. 1024192 (granted in 2005)