• 6 January 2006
  • News
  • By Namratha Jagtap

BioSpectrum Awards Nite 2005

BioSpectrum Awards Nite 2005

BioSpectrum Awards Nite 2005

Dr Bhan, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, receiving the Person of the Year Award from
Dr Cyrus S Poonwalla, chairman, Serum Institute of India.
Dr NK Ganguly, DG, ICMR, being honored with the Life Time Achievement Award by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon Ltd.
Sudhir Pai J, MD and CEO, Lotus Labs, receiving the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Prof. Ajit Varma of Amity Institute of Biotechnology.
Dr KK Narayanan, MD, Metahelix, presenting the Product of the Year Award (Q-Vac) to Mr Adar Poonawalla, Member of Board of Governing Council, Trustee, Serum Institute of India Research Foundation.
Dr KK Narayanan giving away the Product of the Year Award (Shantetra) to Akshay R Anagal of Shantha Biotechnics.

The third BioSpectrum Awards were presented on December 19, 2005. A report on the awards nite.

T he third BioSpectrum Awards Nite 2005 was host- ed at Le Meridien, Bangalore on December 19, 2005 to present the awards in recognition of the valuable contributions made to the biotech industry by individuals, products, and companies. Shyam Malhotra, Editor-in-Chief, BioSpectrum, kicked off the function, which saw a gathering of over 275 key officials from the industry, government and academic institutions, enumerating about the Awards and the company's future plans. "The large diverse gathering that we have here today is testimony to the fact of the growing popularity of these acknowledgments of the industry captains," he said. "The biotech industry has crossed the $1 billion mark in 2004-05. Further, an industry-friendly biotech policy was in the final stages of getting approval, thanks to the proactive steps taken by Dr MK Bhan."

Malhotra pointed out that BioSpectrum was CyberMedia's first foray into a non-IT area. "CyberMedia is a 23 year-old company, which is mostly into IT publishing and other IT-related activities. We had an IPO in 2005 and did very well. We were probably amongst the top five in the 50 odd IPOs that have happened in the last six-eight months."

He informed the audience that CyberMedia would shortly launch BioSpectrum Asia. "It is an integrated media plan and we will have a BioSpectrum Asia print magazine, an electronic magazine, and a dedicated online edition. They are all slated to be launched in January-February 2006 and with that we hope to increase the footprint of this industry across the entire region and not just limit to India. We are also drawing up other expansion plans for next year. We are confident that these will continue the growing benefits for both our customers, the readers as well as the advertisers as we go forward," said Malhotra.

Panel Discussion

On the occasion, BioSpectrum organized a short panel discussion on the theme "Biotech Industry's Wish List to the Finance Minister for Union Budget 2006." The discussion was moderated by Sarath Naru, managing director, APIDC-VC Ltd, Hyderabad and Narayanan Suresh, Editor, BioSpectrum. The panelists included Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon, Bangalore, Dr K VijayRaghavan, director, NCBS, Bangalore, Deepanwita Chattopadhyay, CEO, ICICI Knowledge Park, Hyderabad, Prof. AS Kolaskar, vice-chancellor, University of Pune, Pune, Dr KK Narayanan, CMD, Metahelix, Bangalore, Dr Shama Bhat, CMD, Bhat Biotech, Bangalore, Dr Mittur N Jagadish, director, Monsanto Research Centre, Bangalore, and Dr SD Ravetkar, senior director, Serum Institute of India, Pune.

BioSpectrum Awards 2005 Selection

Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, chairman, Serum Institute of India, who chaired the jury which selected the awardees, briefly explained about the award selection process. "The process that we followed was totally transparent. The selection was totally in passion. Most of the panel members were peers in the industry except for having the vice-chancellor of the Pune University who was an independent person and that added to the color of the selection," Poonawalla said.

"Prof. Kolaskar was a great help for an independent evaluation when there was a close call on one or two selections. The process was that the biodata with a write-up on each recommended candidate was circulated among the jury members and each member had a chance to comment on them and in many cases, I had to take a consensus. For example, except one or two selections, most of them were not unanimous which is healthy. Chairing the jury was a great learning experience for me and I hope these awards grow in the future," he added.

BioSpectrum-ABLE Industry Awards

The first set of Awards to be presented were the top company awards on the basis of the BioSpectrum-ABLE Industry Survey held in May-June 2005. Biocon Ltd walked away with three awards in different categories.

Biocon Ltd was presented the BioPharma Company of the Year Award for being the top biopharmaceuticals company in the country for FY 2005 with sales revenue of Rs 556.67 crore. It also bagged the BioIndustrial Company of the Year Award for continuing to have a stronghold on its oldest business of enzymes. Biocon Ltd is one of the largest manufacturers of enzymes, with total sales from this business alone standing at Rs 89.68 crore in 2004-05, registering 34.82 percent growth. Syngene International, a subsidiary company of Biocon, was presented the BioServices Company of the Year Award. Syngene topped the BioSevices sector, clocking Rs 66.06 crore from the contract research business in 2004-05, recording 72 percent growth.

MAHYCO-Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd was awarded the BioAgri Company 2005 Award for aggressively pushing for the success of Bt-cotton-the first transgenic crop in India and being the leader in the agribiotech sector with revenues of Rs 166.40 crore. It sold 13 lakh packets of Bollgard cotton in 2004-05 compared to 2.16 lakh packets in 2003-04.

Labindia Instruments won the BioSupplier Company of the Year Award. It was the largest biotech supplier of FY 2005. Its total life sciences business was Rs 119 crore. Labindia is a leading supplier of various products to the life sciences industry.

Jawaharlal Nehru University was rated the best biotech school in the country in India's 2nd Top 20 Biotech Schools survey conducted by BioSpectrum in November 2005 with a score of 49.69. It ranked very high on infrastructure and industry-interaction scores. The award will be given away during the BioSpectrum Student Lecture Series event in January 2006.

BioSpectrum Awards 2005

The main category of Awards was the next to follow. These Awards were selected by the jury headed by Dr Poonawalla, which comprised Prof. AS Kolaskar, vice-chancellor, University of Pune, Pune; Dr KK Narayanan, managing director, Metahelix, Bangalore; Deepanwita Chattopadhyay, CEO, ICICI Knowledge Park, Hyderabad; Sarath Naru, managing director, APIDC-Venture Capital Ltd, Hyderabad; Shyam Malhotra,Editor-in-Chief, BioSpectrum, and other CyberMedia Publications, Gurgaon; and E Abraham Mathew, Chief Editor, BioSpectrum, Bangalore. Dr Aravinda Babu, head, operations, WellQuest, Mumbai could not attend the meeting but sent his selection to the jury members.

The Product of the Year Award was given away jointly to the quadravalent vaccines developed by Serum Institute of India and Shantha Biotechnics. While Dr Adar Poonawalla, Member of Board of Governing Council, Trustee, Serum Institute of India Research Foundation, received the award for Serum Institute's Q-Vac, Akshay R Anagal, manager - business development, Shantha Biotechnics, received the award for Shantetra, Shantha Biotechnics' quadravalent vaccine, from Dr KK Narayanan.

Sudhir Pai J, managing director and CEO, Lotus Labs was presented the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Prof. Ajit Verma, director, Amity Institute of Herbal & Microbial Studies.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw gave away the Life Time Achievement Award to Dr Nirmal Kumar Ganguly, director general, ICMR, while Dr MK Bhan received the Person of the Year Award from Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla.

In his short acceptance speech, Dr Ganguly stressed on the need for increased investment in the health sector as many of the biotech products reach a very small section of the population. "The investment in health sector must be increased so that products will be absorbed and used in the population and will go across to the developing countries."

Gautam Reddy of Biocon receiving the BioIndustrial Company 2005 Award from a representative of the RK Group of Institutions.
VS Upadhye, CEO, Labindia Instruments, receiving the BioSupplier Company 2005 Award from Deepanwita Chattopadhyay, CEO, ICICI Knowledge Park.
Dr Mittur N Jagadish, director, Monsanto Research Centre, receiving the BioAgri Company 2005 Award for MAHYCO-Monsanto from Prof. AS Kolaskar, VC, Pune University.
Abhijeet Zutshi of Biocon poses after receiving the BioPharma Company 2005 Award from Prof. Elsamma Thomas, prinicipal, The Oxford College of Science.
Abraham E Mathew, Chief Editor, BioSpectrum, presenting the BioServices Company 2005 Award to Arun Natarajan of Syngene International.

He added, "We need to have much more robust inter-sectorial capabilities so that the decisions made together will ultimately combine to enable the product we make and put it forth to the people." He also felt the need to promote the private sector and private laboratory networks. "Until and unless we do this, there will not be the required growth because private sector is capable of moving much faster than the current public health sector and here more concessions are needed."

Dr Bhan in his acceptance speech said that the DBT was grappling with the idea of becoming a continuously evolving organization. "There were some solid steps and good accomplishments and we need to consolidate them but I also believe we must continuously evolve, continuously change and continuously experiment fearlessly on scale with the right kind of investments," he said.

Underlining the need for India and the biotech industry to become world class, Dr Bhan said, "Until we think our practices are comparable to the best, we should not cease to make efforts and we should not become complacent too soon."

"We got the SBRI going and I'm happy to tell you that although we got the approval only on September 30, within eight weeks time, 60 of the 70 proposals that we received, have been approved today. I hope to give this year at least 25 percent of the DBT's total budget to industry-related research and the industry needs to be sensitive to this."

Announcing that 50 centers of excellence will be funded by the DBT, he said one model center would be started and this would be replicated elsewhere.

Giving a call to the biotech companies to expand the density of their scientist manpower, he said the DBT had gone ahead with a proposal to ask the government to give a national pool of jobs "so that we can plug them into centers of excellence and generally spread them around in public-private R&D groups."

Dr Bhan said, "We intend to go to the Parliament with a Bayh-Dole legislation so that reward for innovation goes to investigators, scientists and universities."

Speaking on forging academic linkages with reputed international universities, Dr Bhan said the first deal would be with Stanford University. "We also decided that the DBT in partnership as well as alone should run a grade school to produce highly skilled quality people with a global brand name. By the end of the next year, we should have the first batch in place," he said.

On the occasion, Dr Bhan released the second Top 20 Biotech Schools Survey special issue brought out by BioSpectrum. He also released a BioSpectrum desktop calendar for 2006 titled Aspirations.

The event was sponsored by State Bank of India, BioAsia 2006, The Oxford College of Science, RK Institute of Management and Computer Sciences and Amity Institute of Biotechnology.

Namratha Jagtap

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