• 5 May 2010
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Indian biotech saw 26% growth in 2009

Indian biotech industry is booming and in 2009 it grew at a CAGR of 26.5 percent and generated total revenues of Rs 10,682 crore ($2.4 bn) according to Research and Markets, an independent market research resource.

The report titled 'Booming Biotech Market in India' credited the boom to a large pool of scientific talent, world-class information technology industry, and vibrant pharmaceutical sector.

The report said the industry has been able to survive successfully amid the global financial turmoil. Government initiatives, like setting up of more biotech parks and encouragement to public-private-partnerships, provided cushion to the biotech industry against tough economic conditions of recession.

The year-on-year growth of the biotech market is expected to accelerate in near future due to high demand for vaccines, CROs, biopesticides, biofertilizers, biodiesel and biotherapeutics in India as well as at the global level. The research has found that the biopharma segment constitutes a major part of the total biotech market. It has experienced consistent rise in revenue and the trend is likely to continue in future as well. The overall biotech market will remain buoyant despite the recent economic downturn. The baseline for optimistic future projection of the market is pouring of investments to promote research and support entrepreneurship in the emerging segments.

TERI, Deakin to open bionanotech center
The Energy and Resources Institute of India (TERI) has inked an MoU with Deakin University, Australia, to establish a new center to tackle the issues related to food and water security, and healthcare.

The MoU was signed by the Deakin University Vice Chancellor, Sally Walker and TERI's Executive Director, Dr Leena Srivastava in the presence of India's Minister for Education, Kapil Sibal and the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard as part of Minister Sibal's diplomatic visit to Australia.

Dr Aloka Adolheya, currently the director of TERI's Biotechnology and Bioresources Center (BBC) and nominated director of the new center said, “Our new Bionanotechnology Center has the potential to make significant contributions to solving critical problems faced by India and Australia. It is imperative to adopt new emerging technologies to meet challenges like healthcare, water and food security.”

The new center is envisaged to have approximately 70 researchers, including 50 PhD students enrolled at Deakin and co-supervised by Deakin and TERI staff. It will also function as a hub for the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI) launched earlier this year. This involves up to a further 50 PhD students representing Indian industries or with other research partners again co-supervised by leading researchers in India and Australia.

The center is perceived to emerge as a unique conglomerate of researchers from Deakin's ITRI, who bring excellence and expertise in design and characterization of novel nanomaterials and TERI researchers from BBC who bring a wealth of experience in biotech applications in pharmacology, food, agriculture and environmental areas.

Avesthagen, Inno tie up for biosimilars
Avesthagen has commenced the manufacturing operations of two of its biosimilars at Inno Biologic's Putra Nilai facilities in Malaysia.

The first product for anemia, AVDESP has already completed preclinicals and is ready for cGMP manufacturing for conducting clinical trials in India. The second biosimilar for auto-immune disorders, AVENT, will also be produced at the Inno Biologics facility. Avesthagen has a pipeline of eight biosimilars of which four are in advanced stages of development.

DST initiates CV Raman Fellowship

The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has initiated CV Raman International Fellowship for African Researchers under its science and technology initiative. This prestigious fellowship is aimed at strengthening the bond between India and African nations through science and technology collaboration. This fellowship is a follow up action of the new science and technology initiative for African countries announced at the highest level during the India-Africa Forum Summit in April 2008.

India introduces KVK e-linkage network

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has  inaugurated the e-Linkage Network Operation Center at Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) headquarters in New Delhi. The e-linkage facility provided to 192 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and all the eight zonal project directorates, is part of the process of strengthening the network of 571 remotely located KVKs in the country. This facility will also be extended to another 91 KVKs by the end of 2010.

Biocon buys 49% stake of BBPL from CIMAB

Biocon has acquired 49 percent stake in its joint venture Biocon Biopharmaceuticals (BBPL) from Cuba's CIMAB. CIMAB is Biocon's partner in Cuba and the partners make medicines based on monoclonal antibodies. Under the business restructuring plan, Biocon will buy CIMAB's 49 percent stake and will make BBPL a wholly-owned subsidiary of Biocon.

This deal allows both the partners to focus on the joint development of novel biologics-T1h (Anti-CD6 Monoclonal Antibody), which has just entered phase III clinical trials in psoriasis.

BBPL will continue to provide manufacturing support for all partnered programs between CIMAB and Biocon. The two partners will jointly work towards development of T1h for global markets and promote BIOMab and ERYPRO in India and elsewhere.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD of Biocon, said, “This move opens a new chapter in our partnership with CIMAB. We see T1h as a unique global opportunity that has the potential of being a 'best in class' therapy for a range of auto-immune diseases like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes”.

Summit Partners invests in Krishidhan Seeds
Summit Partners, the growth equity investor, has announced the completion of its investment of Rs 133 crore in Krishidhan Seeds Limited (KSL). The minority investment will be utilized for R&D, technology and product-related acquisitions, international expansion, and company infrastructure. KSL reported consolidated revenues of Rs 279 crore for the year ended September 2009 and is on track to generate more than Rs 400 crore for the current financial year.

  Sushil Karwa, managing director of Krishidhan Seeds, said, “The Summit team demonstrated a genuine understanding of our business dynamics, the market place, and opportunities for our ongoing success. The Krishidhan team is excited to partner with Summit to achieve the next phase of development for our company.”
Scott Collins, managing director of Summit Partners, said, “India's strong entrepreneurial tradition, combined with a fast-growing economy, means there are many companies that can benefit from Summit's capital investment, strategic advice and industry expertise. Krishidhan Seeds is a great example of this. Building on our experience in the US and Europe, we look forward to all of our future investments in India.”

Amit Chaturvedy from Summit Partners will become a director on the company's board of directors effective immediately and Vinay Kashyap from Summit Partners will become a board observer.

Prakruthik launches nanotech capsules
Nanotechnology-based preventive healthcare company, Prakruthik Health Care launched its first product, En-Tube capsules, for intracorporeal detoxification through nanotechnology. En-Tube is a combination of highly purified, activated, nano svarjika (mineral) and Plantago Ovata Husk (herb). It will provide the necessary internal cleansing that is required to keep one fit and healthy. The capsules are made available over-the-counter and are preventive health supplement that can be used by people between 12-70 years.

Alvogen opens CRO, API office in India
Alvogen, the US-based generic pharmaceuticals company, has expanded its operations in India, by establishing a clinical research organization (CRO) and an API sourcing office in Bangalore. The CRO will specialize in the management of clinical trials and offer clinical research services to Alvogen and third parties. The sourcing office further strengthens Alvogen's relationships with Indian suppliers for raw materials.

ICAR allows open access to its journals
Indian Council Of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has decided to allow open access to its research journals online. The journals namely, Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences and Indian Journal of Animal Sciences are published monthly by ICAR.

The journals are accessible from the ICAR website from March 2010 issue onwards and will be available globally. This step is expected to benefit the large number of students, researchers and farmers who earlier had to pay for getting information.

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