Bangalore: India’s biotechnology industry is expected to grow 20% this fiscal to $5 billion (Rs23,600 crore) as the country becomes a low-cost research hub for global agricultural and pharmaceutical firms.
The nation’s 380 biotechnology firms reported revenue of $4 billion for fiscal 2010, said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson of the vision group on biotechnology for Karnataka. Of this, around $1 billion was contributed by the equipment and ancillary segment of the industry.
Bangalore is home to half the biotechnology companies in the country.
“Having come a long way, now is the time to shift from western-centric models. India and China can play a lead role in the world in the areas of food security and healthcare,” said Mazumdar-Shaw at the inaugural of the 10th edition of Bangalore India Bio, the annual biotechnology event of the state.
“New challenges, such as global warming, energy, health and food security offer huge opportunities for the biotech industry,” she said.
Of the 32 new foreign firms that have invested in India in the past year, 11 are located in Bangalore, with an investment of Rs1,500 crore.
They include a Rs500 crore research unit for clean energy and biofuels from Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd and a Rs250 crore contract manufacturing unit to make enzymes, proteins and DNA vaccines by Kemwell Pvt. Ltd in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.
“Our plant will be operational by next year,” said Anurag Bagaria, vice-president at Kemwell.
Biocon Ltd, of which Mazumdar-Shaw is the chairperson and managing director, is investing Rs200 crore in a new facility to make drugs.
Clinical data management, drug discovery and low-cost product manufacturing are the advantages Indian firms enjoy in the global market.
“India has shown its competitiveness in the past two decades and now it is time to work towards R&D (research and development) leadership. We can achieve this by removing hierarchical bureaucratic and academic structures. From next year, India will produce about a million engineers and if we deploy them in the R&D projects even for few months, we can do wonders,” said Samir Brahmachari, director general of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Of CSIR’s 37 laboratories, India’s largest public-funded research agency, about 10 are dedicated to biotechnology research.
CSIR has developed an enhanced aswagandha, the equivalent of Chinese ginseng, for farmers in six states, Brahmachari said, adding that biotechnology can play a key role in promoting inclusive growth.
Karnataka plans to set up sector-specific biotechnology parks in Mysore, Dharwad, Mangalore and Bidar, chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said.