Mumbai: At least a dozen small and medium sized life sciences companies and academic and research institutions from the UK are exploring collaborative opportunities in India’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.
A funding squeeze in the UK that has forced them to look for low-cost alternatives, coupled with capabilities in drug research and manufacturing, has doubled India’s attractiveness, said Philip Kendall, senior sector manager, international biotech and pharma, UK Trade and Investment, a government agency.
Kendall is in India as head of a 15-member trade delegation from the UK for a conference in Bangalore this week.
“Talks for at least two key partnership ventures with Indian companies are in the very advanced stages now, and I think some more deals, which could be strategic alliances, manufacturing outsourcing or joint ventures, could be signed soon,” Kendall said without providing details.
The team, which will visit domestic companies in Mumbai and Bangalore, has met with firms such as Biocon Ltd, Alkem Laboratories Ltd, Aristo Pharma Ltd, Indoco Remedies Ltd, Parenteral Drug Ltd, Reliance Life Sciences Ltd, Piramal Life Sciences Ltd and a few Indian clinical research organizations.
Kendall said that the Indian pharmaceutical industry has a demonstrated and wide-ranging capability in drug manufacture and technology, besides enabling cost savings of at least 50%.
Anant Paradkar, a professor in pharmaceutical engineering at Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation at the University of Bradford and founding member of two technology companies in the institute, said: “We are exploring potential partnerships with promising start-up companies who can collaborate in our research projects as well as manufacturing in India.”
Richard Mole, an executive from Inocul8 Ltd, said his company is looking for potential collaborations in the areas of development, manufacture, regulatory approval and distribution of livestock vaccines in India.
An executive from Mumbai-based Piramal Life Sciences, who didn’t want to be identified, said his company was anticipating a dialogue with a UK-based molecular research firm for a potential collaboration.
Kendall said the UK government has also announced incentives for the life sciences industry to encourage trade ties with emerging markets.