India launches flagship program to boost biopharma production



India’s biopharmaceuticals industry has received a booster dose from the government, with the Ministry of Science and Technology having finally launched its $250-million program to promote the production of biological drugs here. The program, first approved by the union cabinet in May, will focus on development of new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to cater to India’s rising disease burden.

The ministry, which has received a loan of $125 million (over Rs 800 crore) from the World Bank for its “Innovate in India” (i3) program, hopes it will soon help India capture 5% of the global biopharma market from 3% now. The program is expected to help the country turn its research concepts into workable products faster.

With an aim to provide a level playing field for new entrants, i3 will open calls for research proposals beginning August and roll-out in October this year.

The government aims to use i3 to create a globally competitive biopharmaceutical industry that improves access to affordable healthcare, according to the ministry’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT). The flagship program is expected to bolster collaboration between academia and the country’s biopharma industry.

The program is intended as a cradle for innovation and to offer young entrepreneurs an avenue to engage with the best in the industry, according to DBT. It is expected to bring isolated centres of excellence together, enhance regional capabilities and strengthen the capacities, quantities and quality of the products produced in India’s current bio-clusters network.

The program will be implemented by DBT’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in collaboration with the World Bank.

“This Mission is anticipated to be a game changer for the Indian biopharmaceutical industry. It aspires to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector,” said Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology.

The global biopharmaceuticals market is expected to touch $278,232.9 million by 2020, shows a study published by Persistence Market Research in 2015. North America currently dominates this market, but Asia is expected to experience a high growth rate in the near future due to improvements in quality of healthcare and an increase in the adoption of biopharmaceuticals in the region, adds the report.

Source- Economic Times


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