The role of research and development (R&D) in promoting rapid economic transformation has long been recognized. In Nigeria, policies and programmes have been developed at the national and state levels to support scientific R&D in the various sectors of the economy. For instance, Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 and the transformation agenda of the present government specifically prescribed that indigenous capability must be built up in science and technology so that the country might make significant progress. Furthermore, the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP 2010 – 2015) developed by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) has identified research as a veritable tool for changing the course of health care service through a careful focus on outcome and impact related strategies.
The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) was established by Government order No. 33 Vol. 74 of 11th June 1987 part B under the Science and Technology Act Cap 276. The overarching goal for the establishment of the Institute was to carry out R&D of drugs, biological products and pharmaceutical raw materials based on indigenous resources. NIPRD commenced operation in the year 1989. Today, NIPRD is a parastatal of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the FMOH. To ensure that the activities of the Institute addresses the needs of the important stakeholders in the drug development and manufacturing sector, its Board of Governors has representation from the PSN, PMG-MAN, Traditional Medicine Practitioners, Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) and Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST).
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) made financial contributions towards the take-off of the Institute. A Board of Governors governs the Institute with representations from the PSN, PMG-MAN, Traditional Medicine Practitioners, Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) and Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), while the Chief Executive serves as member and Secretary to the Board.
To build a Centre of Excellence in research and development of phytomedicines, pharmaceutical and biological products, drugs and diagnostics towards improving the health and well-being of mankind.
To apply appropriate modern science and technological resources to stimulate local production of drugs through effective collaboration with the industry and experts within and outside Nigeria;
Develop herbal and phytomedicines to pilot state of commercialization;
Develop quality standards for phytomedicine;
Drugs and diagnostics for the purpose of control and regulation;
Provide quality assurance services on all drugs used in healthcare delivery;
Provide safety data and essential information on herbal and other towards achieving self-sufficiency in the production and control of essential drugs in such a way that would guarantee the overall health of Nigerians and mankind in general.
In order to achieve its mandate, and to contribute to the National health agenda as outlined in the National Strategic Health development Plan (NSHDP) as well as the national drug policy (NDP), the NIPRD strategic plan (2011 – 2015) has been articulated around the following priority areas:
1)Research and development of drugs, phytomedicines and pharmaceutical raw materials (API and Excipients).
2)Strengthening institutional support, partnership and collaboration with relevant organizations.
3)Procurement and logistics management of pharmaceutical products and commodities
4)Planning, monitoring and evaluation.
5)Policy development, coordination and quality management system.
6)Human Capacity Development.
7)Building, Equipment and Infrastructural facility for Research and Development.
8)Advocacy, communication and resource mobilization.
Scientific Capacity and Achievements
The Institute has capacity in the areas of:
1)Verification of efficacy claims by TMPs and others
2)Documentation of traditional medicine practice, monograph development and phytochemistry,
3)Efficacy and safety assessment of drugs and medicinal plant products
4)Drug formulation with a number of associated studies and the development of pharmaceutical excipients
5)Pilot scale production of APIs/ACEs
6)Drug quality assessments including stability and the development of techniques for the analysis of plant medicines..
7)Bioequivalence and Bioavailability (BE and BA) studies
In addition NIPRD is able to conduct, early phase clinical studies. It can also facilitate the commercialization of innovations by providing the facilities, processes and expertise required from incubation all through commercial production. .
NIPRD has over the years, been recognized internationally as an important centre for the research and development of plant medicines. Some of its activities in this area are the development of NIPRISAN for the management of SCD, which has been commercialized and AD-1, a phytomedicne for the management of diabetes.
There are also a number of products in late stage development. This include, AM-1 (an anti-malarial), AH-1 (an immune-stimulant), AD-2, (an anti-diabetic) and AF-1 (an antifungal). Drug Master Files are presently being developed for submission to NAFDAC for registration.
In the area of raw materials development, the Institute has obtained pharmaceutical excipients from several locally availably plants and is presently in the process of developing GMP procedures for their extraction in collaboration with our partners. Scientists in the Institute were the first to obtain artemisinin from Artemisia anua grown in Nigeria and demonstrate that its chemistry is similar to the commercially available one.
Amongst its other activities in operational research, NIPRD has determined the BA/BE and stability of some ACTS and ARVS used in Nigeria. The baseline CD4 level of Nigerians which is presently used as the official basis for initiating ART in Nigeria was determined by the Institute.
We have successfully collaborated with local and international organizations such as. NIAID/NIH (investigation of plants for anti TB principles), the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland (investigation of plants for anti-HIV activity), Howard University (capacity development in cGMP processes and clinical trials), Artemisinin Development Company (for the growth and estraction of artemisinin in Nigeria), as well as various Nigerian Universities including Ahmadu Bello University, University of Ibadan, University of Jos and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. NIPRD is an ANDI centre of Excellence in phytomedicine research, while the WHO is processing its designation as a Centre of Excellence in traditional medicine research.
The presence of scientists with spcialization in most aspects of drug development in one institution is a major advantage that NIPRD has. Our Researchers include experts in the fields of Biology, Pharmacology, Bacteriology, Virology, Chemistry, Formulation, Botany, quality control, Pharmacy and medicine. In recognition of their competencies in their fields of expertise, scientists in the Institute have received grants and fellowships for a number of national and international bodies.
With its five technical departments – Medicinal Plant Research and Traditional Medicine, Medicinal Chemistry and Quality Control, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Pharmaceutical Technology and Raw Materials Development, Microbiology, Human Virology and Biotechnology and a Clinical research facility – the Institute provides Consultancy services in drug development, quality assessment and capacity building.
NIPRD publishes a biennial journal (Journal of Phytomedicine and Therapeutics (JOPAT) which publishes peer reviewed articles from both its researchers and scientists from other academic institutions from both within and outside Nigeria.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Traditional Medicine Practitioners and scientists for drug development developed by the Institute has been recommended as a model by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for use by scientists in relating to TMPs.
NIPRD secured a World Bank grant for research into anti-diabetic phytomedicine. The research project is aimed at developing an anti-diabetic phytomedicine from selected Nigerian medicinal plants and is funded by the World Bank through a competitive process supervised by the STEP-B project in collaboration with Federal Ministry of science and Technology.
The Institute, which formally took off in January 1989, has the following functions:
Undertake research and development work on drugs, biological products including vaccines and pharmaceutical raw materials from indigenous natural resources and by synthesis using appropriate science and technology methodologies.
Conduct appropriate investigations and