Made in India Biotech
India's growing biotech industry is now churning out more biological products in quick succession. Every alternate week, a biosimilar product is getting launched somewhere in the country. The latest one is Bharat Biotech which became the world's eighth manufacturer of thimerosal-free Hepatitis B vaccine which is preferred for application in new born babies within the first 12 hours of birth.
Biotech leaders like Serum Institute, Biocon, Shantha Biotechnics, Panacea Biotec, Biological E, Wockhardt and Bharat Biotech have been in the forefront of launching much needed products in the Indian market in recent years. The trend is likely to continue in the near future with the capacity additions planned by many of these companies as part of their ambitious growth plans. Their pharma counterparts who have got approval for more than 80 manufacturing plants (second largest outside the US) from the US regulator, FDA, is an inspiration for many biotech companies.
Another key factor is the increasing potential of providing Contract Research and Manufacturing Services (CRAMS) as many global majors look towards India and China to shift some manufacturing to enhance their competitiveness. This need is also spurring many global companies to test the waters in India and Biogen Idec has made a quiet move into Gurgaon, on the fringes of the capital city of New Delhi.
To tap the growing biotech sales, key vendors of equipment and services are making repeated forays into the country to get a better understanding of the market dynamics. BioSpectrum has featured over half-a-dozen global CEOs and their India-specific plans in the recent issues. There are many more CEO visits in the offing. Inaugurating the 4th edition of the analytical industry event, Analytical Anacon in Hyderabad on October 31, 2007, Dr AV Rama Rao, a scientist-turned-entrepreneur predicted that India was set to become the world's largest drug discovery center by the year 2025. It is not an empty boast from one of the country's leading organic chemistry expert who has played a key role in synthesizing some of the popular drugs in India.
To make this happen, India will need top quality human resources. And a study done exclusively for BioSpectrum by an Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore team indicates that the biotech industry will have to strive hard to pick up the talented scientists it will need as the industry values only students with high academic qualifications and over a third of the students pursuing biotech and related courses go abroad to enhance their research skills. Another 20-30 percent of the students are picked up by the HR-hungry information technology industry. Leader Prospects, an HR expert agency, also in a study published in this issue has addressed these concerns and suggested some methods to increase the employability of Indian students.