Mr A K Sud, chairman, Keystone Knowledge Park
Keystone Knowledge Park is being developed by the Mayar Infrastructure Development Authority, a part of Mayar Group which has successfully diversified into hospitality, wellness and infrastructure sector with presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Myanmar, Indonesia and India. In a recent interaction with the BioSpectrum, Mr A K Sud, chairman, KKP, spoke about the development of park, company operations and various aspects of the industry:
Q: What is your opinion on the current Indian biotech scenario? What went wrong with the sector, which you feel has lost its way?
If we look back, the years 2005-08 were prime time for India. There were a lot many CROs and increased private equity in the sector, making it highly promising. It was considered to be the industry of future and even experts were bullish about it. Then came the biggest myth that biotech is another information technology like industry, which actually was never the case. Eying big bucks, lot many parents pushed their children to get education in biotech. At that time, I always used to mention that this bubble will burst.
During the early 2000 in United States, there were huge growth predictions about biotech by market research companies such as E&Y. But over the period of time (last five years), it has been realized that even the definition of biotech is not clear. Most often, the case is that it is a biotech company without revenue. With revenue, it becomes a pharma company. Though the route of technology discovery may be different or come from a biotech source, the process of marketing, clinical trials etc remains same as pharma. The reason why we have not been successful on word ‘biotech' and the R&D activities is because of lacking balanced approach. The R&D is important and we may create separate parks for it but we cannot limit it only by that.
If we are looking at this industry to grow, we must look at broad banding the spectrum of research into virtual platform. We need to create an ecosystem where all the components can be brought together. That has happened at Genome Valley, Hyderabad and Electronics City, Bangalore. The 70% of the companies in Knowledge Park, Hyderabad are non biotech. The fact is that we require companies such as Mylan and Novartis too, who may not do purely biotech activities most of the time. I am of the view that the technology used in innovation is not so important than the ecosystem that enables the further development.
Q Where do the opportunities lie then? Are regulations a hurdle?