Just a month after the dawn of the New Year, AstraZeneca announcing its strategic decision to shut down its 25-year-old, state-of-the-art Avishkar R&D center in Bangalore sent ripples across the lifesciences industry in the country.
For, the 200,000 sq ft facility in Hebbal, on the way to the Bangalore Airport is not just another research center. It is the research center that put Bangalore and India on the global biotech map in the early 1980s. The same way setting up the Texas instruments office in Bangalore in 1984 spawned the birth of India's Silicon Valley.
The who's who of India's biotech industry have cut their teeth in the AstraZeneca center which was born more than 25 years ago as Astra center. It was born when India opened its doors to the world and set up a corporate research center for the first time since Independence.
The AstraZeneca center has been the training ground for India's budding biotech entrepreneurs. More than half-a-dozen biotech companies have been set up by scientists who learnt the rigors of corporate R&D under the watchful eyes of AstraZeneca research heads.
So, AstraZeneca is not just another biotech research center. It had an iconic status in India's fledgling biotech industry.