Biotechnology in India

While India has been practicing conventional biotechnology for decades,  modern biotechnology did not really take off in India till the last decade.  However, this process is now accelerating and India will soon be a leader in many forms of biotechnology.  Currently, there exist 800 companies, operating in all sectors of biotechnology, but there are only 25 companies that have gained size and are working in the modern biotech sectors.  Leading companies are Reddy Labratories, Wockhardt, Biocon, Panacea Biotech, Biocon, Nicholas-Piramal India, Reliance and Ranbaxy. 
Today, India holds a small share of the global biotech market, but has all the capabilities to become a dominant player.  Biotech in India has three dominant clusters - Bangalore, Mumbai/Pune and to a lesser extent New Delhi.

india biotech 
In 1997, the total biotech market in India was valued at $ 500 million. This grew to 1 billion in 1999.  It further grew to 2 billion in 2001 and is expected to grow to $ 4.5 billion by 2010.  Some expect that India will have 8 percent of the world's biotech companies by 2010.
India is a hub for vaccine production. In 2003/2004, this market grew at 18.64% and accounted for 47% of the total biopharma segment with sales of US$253 million. GlaxoSmithkline, Wyeth, and Aventis are major multinational players in the Indian vaccine market.

Several domestic players are competing in this market such as Serum Institute of India (Pune), Biocon, Panacea Biotec, etc. . Major vaccines produced include DPT, DT, BCG, Tetanus toxoid, oral polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, rabies (tissue culture-based), and an injectible typhoid vaccine.

The human and animal segment of the industry alone is growing by at least 20%. Human health biotech accounts for 60% of the total sales, while agro biotech and veterinary-biotech together account for 15% of the total revenue and medical devices, contract R&D and reagents and supplies constitute the remainder.

The biotech sector in India is still mainly a mix of small and medium-sized companies. Major hurdles for Indian biotech start-ups are finding seed capital, lack of R&D focus, intellectual property rights, regulatory reforms and difficulty in competing with large companies in terms of salaries and benefits for key employees. 

Areas of Focus:

- Bio-generic pharmaceuticals. The reason for this is India's long presence in the generic drugs market which is now leading the Indian companies to enter the Bio-generic pharmaceutical global market. The biopharmaceutical segment contributed about 76% of the Indian Biotech market in 2003-2004.
- Agribiotechnology. Agriculture occupies the prime position in the economy contributing 24.1% to the GDP and agricluture and allied activities employ about 60% of the work force. Hence a lot is expected of agribiotechnology. New products in agribiotechnology sector would be increasing in the coming years.

- Clinical Trials - India offers great advantages in conducting clinical trials. These include speed of patient enrollment, which is higher than in Western countries, an excellent pool of qualified doctors and investigators, expertise in computer skills including data management, a heterogeneous population, and conformation to ICH and GCP guidelines.  Multinational companies, such as Eli Lilly, are already reportedly spending over 10% of annual turnover on clinical trials in India.
- Vaccines - see above.

Biotech for Diverse Sectors

Pharmaceutical & Health Care
Agricultural & Food Biotechnology
Food Crops
Non-Food Crops
Biopesticides, Biofertilizers & Biofuels
Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing
Environmental Biotechnology


Biomedical R&D
Contract Research
Clinical Research and Clinical Trial
Biotechnology Research Organization (BRO)
Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing (BCM)

India Advantage

Plant Genetic Resources
Animal Genetic Resources
Tropical Forest
Agro-Climatic Zones
Infrastructure-R&D Institutions, Universities and Hospitals
Skilled Manpower

Biotech Financing

Government Funding
R&D (technology development)
Technology Commercialization
Venture Capital
Institutional/Individual Financing

Comparing India to China and Thailand:

Special Reviews:

Biotechnology Outsourcing: Which Country is Right for my Company?  Biotech is considered the next IT, with fortunes to be made and every major economy in Asia rushing to establish itself as a major player and prime destination for foreign investment. This article focuses on China, India and Thailand from the perspective of a biotech firm seeking to establish an R&D lab or processing facility in one of these countries

Chronology of Indian Biotechnology Industry

1978 - First Indian Biotech company, Biocon, is established in Bangalore.
1981 - Center for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) is established in Hyderabad for DNA & r -DNA based research.
1984 - For R&D activities in microbial Bio -processing, Institute for Microbial Technology (IMTECH) is established in Chandigarh.
1986 - Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is set up by Government of India with objective of promoting modern Biology and Biotechnology at academic and industry levels.
1987 - National Institute of Immunology (NII) set up by DBT for immunology research.
1989 - Bangalore Genei starts operations to produce restriction enzymes & other tools for DNA based R&D.
1991 - National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) established to pursue R&D in molecular biology.
1996 - Bharat Biotech International Ltd. Establishes an R&D centre at Genome Valley, Hyderabad
 1997 - Center for Biochemical Technology (CBT) established to focus on Bioinformatics and Genomics. Shantha Biotech launches India's first recombinant product, Hep B vaccine.
1998 - Monsanto research establishes an R&D center at IISc for plant genomics. DBT approves Mahyco -Monsanto to conduct Bt cotton trials.
1999 - NCBS scientist sets up AVESTHAGEN a plant genomics company.
2000 - Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu announce Biotech initiatives.
2001 - Reliance sets up Reliance Life Sciences to pursue stem cell based research and product development.
2003 - Gujarat government announces Biotech Venture Capital Fund Wockhardt launched Wosulin (rDNA human insulin) and Biovac -B (hepatitis B Vaccine) and Wepox (Erythropoitin) Strand Genomics launched Avadis 2.0
2004 - Biocon rollout with its public issue Ocimum Biosolution entered into partnership with Genome Exploration of US

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