The life sciences industry leaders from both India and UK came
together in London in early December to strengthen the business ties
between the nations in this sector
A delegation of biotech industry leaders from India traveled to the UK
to meet with their counterparts to renew and forge new ties for a week
in December. The Indian delegation’s visit to London was facilitated by
the government agency, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
The Indian delegation included Dr Satya Dash, COO of ABLE, Dr Anand
Anandkumar of Cellworks Research India, Mr Durga Prasad of DSKS Pharma,
Mr D A Prasanna and Ms Nazneen Maji from Ecron Acunova, Mr Ponarul
Palanisamy from GVK Biosciences, Dr Harish Sharma from ICBio Clinical
Research, Ms Sapna Bansi Raj from Molecular Connections and BioSpectrum
Group Editor, Mr Narayanan Suresh. The delegation met several companies
in London and also visited the Manchester Science Park in Manchester.
The highlight of the visit was the full day Genesis conference in
London on December 9. The 10th edition of this conference, billed as
one of the largest life sciences networking event, had over 700
delegates from over a dozen countries.
On the last day of the program, there were more business meetings at
BBE, the Business Exchange for the Life Sciences at the Westminister
Conference Center. This occasion resulted in a large number of
one-to-one meetings between Indian and UK bioscience companies.
During the interactions in the UK, it was clear that companies in
Europe are looking at increasing their collaborations with industries
in India and China. Many industry leaders pointed out that life
sciences industry in the West was in a state of flux. The total job
cuts announced by the industry’s leading companies in the west in 2010
alone accounted for more than 45,000. “The industry here is on a cost
cutting spree. However, the research and development work has to go on.
So, the jobs will shift to India and other nations, to enable these
companies to maintain their competitive edge,” said a speaker at the
Many interesting statistics too came out. For instance, it was pointed
out that GSK spends over 50 percent of its annual research funds
outside the home base in the UK. Merck spends more than a quarter of
its research expenses in Asia. At the same time, UK’s industry and
research leaders highlighted the advantages the country has in
biosciences. UK has the second largest biotech industry after the US,
and experienced scientists to do range of drug discovery work,
excellent infrastructure in public institutions and universities, a
congenial work climate and simplified business practices.
The visit certainly opened the eyes of Indian entrepreneurs to the
opportunities for strategic collaboration with their UK counterparts.
Many formal agreements can be expected in 2011.
ABLE, BIA tie up for business exchanges
During the BBE meet, the Business Exchange for the Life Sciences in
London on December 10, 2010, two leading biotech industries from India
and UK came together on a single platform to increase the partnership
in this sector between the two countries.
Bangalore-based Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (ABLE) and
the BioIndustry Association (BIA), London signed a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) on this. ABLE chief operating officer, Dr Satya
Dash, and BIA’s Chief Executive, Mr Nigel Gaymond inked the memorandum
in the presence business delegates from both the countries.
“The MOU is a significant step towards greater links between the
bioscience industry in the UK and India and brings together two leading
global locations for biotech,” said Dr Dash on the occasion.
“We believe the partnership will encourage more interactions between
bioscience companies in the UK and India and expand the opportunities
for our members to collaborate with Indian bioscience companies,” said
Founded in 1989, BIA has over 250 member companies. ABLE, set up in
2001, has nearly 300 members in India.
Narayanan Suresh in London
‘India ranks 4th in the number of projects for UKTI’
Mr Andrew Levi, director
for Investment at UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), is responsible for
inward investments to United Kingdom from 33 world markets. With a
global network of teams and about half-a-billion-dollars in operating
budget his team goes about building sector focussed win-win
partnerships. On a recent trip to Hyderabad, in a freewheeling
interview with BioSpectrum
, he shares his thoughts on the
growing importance of India for UK as a partner country. Some excerpts:
Q In your scope of 33 countries, how do you rank or rate
the Asian countries in order of importance for UK?
It depends on how you measure it. There is no one measure everyone
agrees on. The position of the countries will change depending on the
perspective that you take—for example, it could be investments, number
of projects, jobs created or capital inflow—which can be quite
volatile. Usually, the US is always the biggest by multiples. Germany
and Japan follow next. If I were to take an average, I would say that
investment flow from India brings it in the top 15 countries for the
UK. The strongest figure from India has come for the last year. By the
number of projects India’s position was fourth in March 2010. Other
important economies are China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and
Q What is the life sciences share in total inward
investment for UKTI in 2010?
Life sciences share in the total number of projects is a little over 10
percent. In 2009-10, the overall number of projects in the life
sciences sector was 173 creating 8,492 jobs, up from 140 projects in
2008-09 creating 4,692 jobs. India continues to remain a high
importance country for UKTI. It is an emerging economic power. There is
potential for inward investment growth across all sectors from India.
Currently, with 92 projects across sectors, India accounts for just
about six percent of the total number of projects. For UKTI, this is a
significant six percent. I wouldn’t have been able to say this five
years ago or even two years ago. In the last two years, there has been
a lot coming from India to UK across industry segments.
Q What is the value proposition that UK offers over
other comparable choices?
The investment decisions are not driven by the macro economic
perspectives, these are taken by companies and individuals. It depends
on what the project/business is seeking. You may seek a particular
market. UK is the fifth largest economy in the world and the size of
life sciences market is about $50 billion-a-year. You may be looking
for a location from where you can grow your business, globally. So, you
may want a location that has great connections – be it in terms of
infrastructure, travel, education or financial markets.
Many life sciences companies would be interested in the strength of the
research base in the UK. Some would find it a great proposition for a
clinical study to speed up drug approvals. There are also subtle
drivers such as political, cultural and commercial links with the
markets that may interest you. India-UK links are very strong and work
out to be a great proposition for Indian businesses.