First International Conference on the 3R’s Research and Progress International Conference Series, “Advances in Research Animal Models and Cutting-Edge Research in Alternatives” was held on 19th & 20th November, 2020 at School of Life Sciences Auditorium, University of Hyderabad, OncoSeek Bio, a translational research-based biotech start-up, incubated at ASPIRE-BioNEST, and Atal Incubation Center, CCMB, in collaboration with the Federation of Asian Biotech Associations (FABA) organized this two-day International Conference. Fondazioneguido Bernardini(FGB), Italy and The Jackson Laboratory, USA were the knowledge partners for this conference.

Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor, UoH who was the chief guest at the inaugural function, appreciated the initiative taken by Dr. Suresh Poosala (founder and CEO, OncoseekBio) and appreciated the organizers for initiating the conference in 3R’s for the first time in the university.  He said, “Such conferences and international collaborations will be helpful for researchers who can excel by adapting the cutting-edge research in alternatives to animal models”.    Dr. Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB, in his video message lauded the efforts taken by OncoseekBio in organizing this conference and emphasized the need for alternatives to animal models research. Prof. Reddanna, Executive President, FABA joined online from USA and wished success to the organizers. “Keeping the quality of research intact in the field of drug discovery, we are aiming at translating by reducing and refining the usage of animal models and finding the potential alternative in-vitro models as a replacement for animals in the research”, said Dr. Suresh Poosala. Prof. G.S. Prasad, Director RITE, Prof. S. Rajagopal, Coordinator ASPIRE-BioNEST, Dr. Sreedhara Voleti CEO, ASPIRE-BioNEST, Dr. UdaySaxena, Cofounder and Chief Ideator of Reagene Biosciences also graced the inaugural function and welcomed the participants.

The keynote speech was delivered via online by Dr. Charu Chandrasekara, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods on “Moving beyond Animal Models: A Key Role for South Asia”. She provided an overview on the state of affairs in animal testing and alternatives—“where we are and where we ought to be”—and perspectives highlighting a key role for South Asia. She advocated for higher standards in biomedical research and a paradigm shift in which our species, the Homo sapiens, serves as the quintessential animal model and our biology is the gold standard in biomedical research, education, and regulatory testing through 21st-century science, innovation, and ethics.

Considering the current COVID pandemic situation, the proceedings of the conference were live webcast to a little over 1200 participants from various countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Thailand, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ecuador, Srilanka, and Australia. Owing to the restrictions and precautions advised due to the pandemic, strict protocols w.r.t. social distancing, sanitization and personal protection maintained and a limited audience was present at the venue with an alternate seating arrangement. The essence of the conference was to understand the current research animal models, seek and evaluate relevant alternatives and follow up on these discussions with actionable steps over the next four years meeting once every year in this series of events. International scientists, decision-makers from pharma companies, CROs, and several businesses from almost all the continents attended this conference online.

It was proposed to sign a MoU between the University of Hyderabad and FGB, Italy to organize annual two-week lab animal science and management course. The main objective of this course is to teach the advances in lab animal management and science to scientists and staff in lab animal facilities of India. The announcement was made by Prof. Appa Rao, and Dr. Marcel Gyger, the Member of the Scientific Board of FGB has participated online.