India can increase its agri yield by adopting new technologies
India can increase its
agri yield by adopting new technologies
Prof. Abhijit Sen, member of the Planning Commission, Government of
India, has predicted that the agriculture growth for the fiscal 2010-11
is unlikely to show improvements as it is going to stay negative in
Inaugurating the Green Revolution II Summit organised by the Associated
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Prof. Sen said,
“Kharif has been badly damaged because of poor monsoon and
hurt agriculture production substantially in 2009-10. The rabi, which
was expected to compensate for lost kharif production in ongoing fiscal
is also facing problems because of rise in temperature, which might
kill its foreseen higher yield prospects.”
On Bt technology, Prof. Sen categorically stated that its applications
on non-food items such as Bt cotton has been excellent. However, its
application on food items be subjected to wider consultation as it is
not a matter of science but a subject to people's confidence
and accordingly government should take a decision on its applications
on Indian soil.
Prof. Sen endorsed observations of renowned Indian scientist, Prof. MS
Swaminathan, who in his keynote speech squarely blamed executors of
government policies on agriculture front due to which, Indian
agriculture has suffered.
Prof. Swaminathan predicted that India is heading for drought.
Initiatives are needed to hold back majority of Indian population
adhere to agriculture by giving them remunerative prices, good seeds,
better infrastructure and knowledge of technologies.
Prof. Sen, however, said that there could be shortfall in the
agriculture growth even in the next fiscal but the government will be
able to maintain the projected growth rate of over four percent for
agriculture sector by the time 11th Five Year Plan period gets over. He
said that in the 12th Five Year Plan period, the government is
determined to release a grant of Rs 6,000 crore to 600 districts across
the country so that farmers are taught application of technology to
improve their agriculture yield.
Dr William S Niebur, vice president, Crop Genetics R&D, DuPont,
said that with the adoption of modern technologies, India can increase
its yield of agriculture produce and feed its population at reasonably
lower prices. Soil fertility in India has come down and not many
praiseworthy steps were taken after first Green Revolution to increase
the fertility, he pointed out.
Therefore, India needs to forge alliances to improve land fertility and
farmers skills to increase food grain production and thereby ensure
food security of India, said Dr Swati Piramal, president ASSOCHAM. She
was addressing the gathering.
opts for lower data exclusivity for biosimilars
Faced with vehement criticism for a slackened approach to his much
talked about healthcare reform bill, US President Barack Obama recently
voiced his opinion on a data exclusivity period of less than 12 years.
Sources from the industry claim that the data exclusivity period could
zero down to as short as seven years. The focus being bringing down
healthcare costs. While on one hand, this means doomsday for innovator
biotech companies, on the other hand, it will accelerate the growth of
Indian biosimilar companies.
Data exclusivity for a drug begins right from the time when the drug is
approved. Until this data exclusivity period comes to an end, no
generic company can bring out a biosimilar version of the innovator
drug. Hence, for a 12-year exclusivity period, Indian biosimilar
companies would have to wait for 12 years, before they can take their
products to the US market. “The US market for
biopharmaceuticals is expected to touch $60 billion (Rs 2.77 lakh
crore) in another one to two years. If a seven year data exclusivity
period comes about and the biosimilars market opens up in the US, it
could mean huge business for Indian companies,” said a
well-known industry expert in India.
Presently there are 25 companies in India operating in the biosimilar
space. This includes companies like Dr Reddy's Laboratories,
Ranbaxy, Biocon, Shantha Biotech, Intas Biopharmaceuticals and Reliance
Life Sciences. It has been estimated that around 40 biosimilar products
are being sold in the Indian market.
Obama's move has spurred huge protests from the big biotech
bandwagon. BIO which represents more than 1,200 members from the
biotech fraternity was vouching for a 12-year period and is now
vehemently opposing the President's stance saying that this
will reduce incentives for bio-research, innovation and access to
'powerful biologic drugs'. Jim Greenwood, CEO of
BIO in a note also mentioned that the biosimilar provision for the date
exclusivity was approved not just by both the parties but by
universities, patient groups and venture capitalists alike.
Biocon, Bayer tie-up to
fight diabetes in India
Indian biotechnology major, Biocon and Bayer Healthcare, a subsidiary
of Bayer AG, have entered into a strategic partnership to fight the
diabetes menace in India. Diabetes is a global pandemic with nearly 23
crore diabetics worldwide. India is the diabetes capital of the world
with home to over five crore of the world's diabetics. By
2025, one in five diabetics worldwide is likely to be an Indian.
As part of Biocon's unique patient service initiative branded
as 'Winning with diabetes', the strategic tie-up
with Bayer Healthcare entails bringing the latest hi-tech blood glucose
meters branded as 'Breeze2', to the masses in
India. This initiative follows the mantra that self monitoring of blood
glucose (SMBG) is the most important part of diabetes management. Good
control of blood glucose and its regular monitoring help the doctor
prescribe medication in a better way, reduce the risk of
diabetes-related complications, improve HbA1c levels and allow early
identification of low blood sugar.
As an introductory offer, and to promote SMBG as a mass concept,
Bayer's Breeze2 imported blood glucose meter will be given to
select patients on doctor's recommendation.
Bio vaccine doses cross 1bn mark
Bharat Biotech announced that it has delivered its one billionth
vaccine dose. Bharat Biotech is a global manufacturer of vaccines to
protect against rabies, polio, hepatitis B, typhoid, diphtheria,
pertussius, tetanus, haemophilus influenza B and other diseases.
“This is a symbolic moment for Bharat Biotech, since it
documents our past performance while laying the foundation for our
future growth,” said Dr Krishna M Ella, chairman and managing
director, Bharat Biotech.
“While the manufacture and sale of a billion doses give us a
great sense of pride and accomplishment, we at Bharat Biotech realize
that life saving vaccines are still unavailable to millions of people
and there is a lot more work to be done. We are truly committed to
R&D of innovative vaccines to address global infectious
diseases,” added Dr Ella.
Intas wins IDMA award for
Intas Biopharmaceuticals has received GOLD Award for Quality Excellence
from Indian Drug Manufacturer's Association (IDMA). The
awards were presented by BS Jharwar, chairman, National Pharmaceutical
Pricing Authority (NPPA) and Devender Choudhary, joint secretary,
Department of Pharmaceuticals.
Intas has received a GOLD trophy from IDMA for the second time in a row
as it received this award for quality excellence consecutively in 2008
Genus opens its subsidiary
Genus, one of the largest animal genetics companies in the world, has
launched its operation in India through its subsidiary, Genus India, on
February 8, 2010. Genus is active in cattle breeding through its brand,
American Breeders Service (ABS), founded in 1941. The subsidiary based
in Pune has plans to increase the productivity of Indian dairy animals
through supply of superior genetics to ensure that the calves born have
increased productive life with better profitability for the dairy
looks for partnerships in India
The Canadian province, Quebec, seeks collaborations with Indian
companies and research institutes in the areas of science and
technology. A 130-member delegation, led by Quebec Premier, Jean
Charest, toured India from January 31 to February 6, 2010. The Premier
inaugurated the Quebec trade office and the office of Invest Quebec, an
economic development agency from Quebec, in Mumbai.
The participants of the mission were from various sectors, such as life
sciences, aerospace, infrastructure, and environment. The mission,
which also visited Bangalore had over 180 B2B meetings with Indian
companies. The mission was also accompanied by representatives from
Quebec's world class research institutes such as Foundation
on Antivirals, FRSQ (Fonds de la recherche en santé du
Québec) and Génome Québec.
Gates Foundation funds
The Gates Foundation has made a 10-year commitment to provide funding
for research and development of vaccines in developing countries. This
was announced by the Microsoft Founder, Bill Gates and his wife,
Melinda, at the World Economic Forum held in Davos this year.
Bill Gates announced that the Gates Foundation would invest $10 billion
for the development of vaccines within the next 10 years. In addition,
the Gates Foundation would support a couple of immunization programs
especially in the developing nations of the world. The funding will
target research and development of vaccines for diseases like malaria,
HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. For this it has inked partnerships with the
UNICEF, WHO, the GAVI alliance and a couple of vaccine companies.
After the Davos forum 2010, Gates
posted an interesting note in context to his announcement, “I
have always believed in the miracle of vaccines. My recent travels
along with progress on things like a malaria vaccine have convinced me
to shift more of the foundation's global health resources to
vaccine research and delivery. As a big believer in innovation, I see
vaccines as a fascinating example of a high-risk idea with a huge