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.
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
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
Biopesticides, Biofertilizers & Biofuels
Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing
Clinical Research and Clinical Trial
Biotechnology Research Organization (BRO)
Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing (BCM)
Plant Genetic Resources
Animal Genetic Resources
Infrastructure-R&D Institutions, Universities and Hospitals
R&D (technology development)
Comparing India to China and Thailand:
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
First Indian Biotech company, Biocon, is established in Bangalore.
Center for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) is established in
DNA & r -DNA based research.
For R&D activities in microbial Bio -processing, Institute for
(IMTECH) is established in Chandigarh.
Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is set up by Government of India with
objective of promoting modern Biology and Biotechnology at academic and
National Institute of Immunology (NII) set up by DBT for immunology
Bangalore Genei starts operations to produce restriction enzymes &
other tools for
DNA based R&D.
National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) established to pursue
1996 - Bharat Biotech International Ltd. Establishes an R&D centre at
Center for Biochemical Technology (CBT) established to focus on
Bioinformatics and Genomics.
Shantha Biotech launches India's first recombinant product,
Hep B vaccine.
Monsanto research establishes an R&D center at
IISc for plant genomics.
DBT approves Mahyco -Monsanto to conduct Bt cotton trials.
NCBS scientist sets up AVESTHAGEN a plant genomics company.
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu announce Biotech
Reliance sets up Reliance Life Sciences to pursue stem cell based
Gujarat government announces Biotech Venture Capital Fund
Wockhardt launched Wosulin (rDNA human insulin) and Biovac -B
Vaccine) and Wepox (Erythropoitin)
Strand Genomics launched Avadis 2.0
Biocon rollout with its public issue
Ocimum Biosolution entered into partnership with Genome Exploration of