Regulator for Indian biotech industry on anvil

June 18th, 2009 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 18 (IANS) India will soon have a regulatory authority for the biotech sector, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan said here Thursday.
“We are setting up a national biotechnology regulatory authority in partnership with the industry,” Chavan said, unveiling the ninth edition of Bangalore Bio 2009, South Asia’ premier biotech event that has attracted 110 firms from 15 countries apart from India.

As part of its biotechnology development strategy, the science and technology department has introduced a legislation to protect and utilise intellectual property (IP) for public-funded research projects.

“We recognise that bio-technology is a sunrise sector, which needs focused attention. We will lay a strong foundation for discovery and innovation,” Chavan told about 700 delegates from India and abroad participating in the three-day summit.

Terming the industry as a game changer with disruptive technologies, the minister said biotechnology had come of age in India that has 330 firms spanning eight sub-sectors.

“Though the industry’s growth declined to 18 percent in 2008-09 due to the global meltdown, it will return to high growth once recovery takes place. The sector’s combined revenue is projected to reach about $25 billion in 2020 from $2.5 billion in 2008,” he said.

Listing out the initiatives taken by his ministry, Chavan said it was setting up eight institutions across the country to promote innovation in biotechnology.

“In addition, three major biotech clusters will come up at Mohali in Punjab, Faridabad in Haryana and Bangalore in Karnataka, as infrastructure is key to rapid growth of the industry.”

The Bangalore cluster will be set up on an investment of Rs.300 crore, the funding coming from the central and state governments and the industry.

Referring to the 65 percent growth of the pharma sector, the minister said biotech research in the farm sector was equally important to boost production and ensure food security for a growing population.

“India has emerged as the vaccine hub of the world, supplying vaccines to about 140 countries and global bodies such as the World Health Organisation. Every third child in the world uses a vaccine produced in India,” Chavan said.

In his address, Karnataka Minister for IT and Biotechnology Katta Subramaniam Naidu said the country’s first bio-IT centre would be set up in the Bangalore on an outlay of Rs.34 crore through a public-private partnership.

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