• 12 March 2010
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BioAsia 2010: A forum for partnership

The event took a more serious approach, focused on issues relevant to immediate business
The seventh edition of the annual biotechnology conference, BioAsia 2010, the global biobusiness forum was held from February 3 to 6, 2010, in Hyderabad.
The four-day BioAsia 2010 conference was inaugurated by K Rosaiah, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. After inaugurating the event he announced that top biotechnology companies are ready to invest up to Rs 1,000 crore to create infrastructure for the plug-and-play lab in the third phase of biotech park in the state.

He said, “On behalf of the state government, I assure full cooperation to the investors in biotech industry to come out with innovations and investments in the area of biotechnology not only in generating products but also in research and exploration of new avenues for the benefit of people.”

Some of the prominent people present at the event were Prof. Seyed E Hasnain, chairman, BioAsia 2010 Advisory Board and vice chancellor of the University of Hyderabad; Dr MK Bhan, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India; Kanna Lakshmi Narayana, minister of major industries, Government of Andhra Pradesh; Joseph Huguet I Biosca, minister of innovation, Catalonia Government, Barcelona; Joel S Marcus, chairman and CEO, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, US; and Dr Maive Rute, director general, European Commission, Brussels.

Jointly organized by the Federation of Asian Biotech Associations (FABA), State Government of Andhra Pradesh, University of Hyderabad, and All India Biotech Association (AIBA); BioAsia had the participation of over 2,000 delegates this year. The annual event provided the opportunity for showcasing the initiatives taken in Andhra Pradesh to create worldclass life science clusters in Genome Valley and in various parts of the state.

BioAsia, which is one of the largest biotech and life sciences event in South Asia, provided a platform for biotech companies to network, display their technologies, and interact with the delegates. The event this year had the presence of delegates and companies from over 30 countries including North America, Europe and Asia.

The event comprised four tracks and 24 technical sessions covering the areas of medical biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, agribiotechnology and animal biotechnology. Apart from the conference sessions, the event closed with about 500 B2B meetings. The other highlight of this year's edition were Indo-European networking meetings, white papers on PPP in biotechnology and funding options for drug discovery.

Delivering his lecture, Dr MK Bhan, said, “BioAsia is an example of how connectivity can be built with companies and people coming from different parts of the world.” He stressed that the field of biotechnology needs technologists driving entrepreneurship. He stated that the Indian government has been increasing its science budget by 30 percent each year and DBT has funded more than 120 companies in the last 12 months. The next edition of BioAsia is scheduled for February 21-24, 2011, in Hyderabad.

Highlights of BioAsia 2010

Genome Valley Excellence Awards
Recognizing the need to reward the stalwarts in biotech, BioAsia presented Genome Valley Excellence Awards to Dr CR Rao, director, Center for Multivariate Analysis, Pennsylvania State University, US, for his research contribution to statistical methods to understand health and disease and Janet Thornton, director, EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK, for her outstanding contribution using computational methods for understanding protein structure and its function.

Alexandria Center for Science and Innovation
The Chief Minister unveiled the plaque to mark the inauguration of Alexandria Center for Science and Innovation in Genome Valley, where the company wants to invest Rs 500 crore in the biotech cluster. The proposed center, to come up in phase III of biotech park would provide worldclass plug-and-play lab space for biotech companies.

CEO Conclave calls for re-evaluating business models
The CEO Conclave held as part of the seventh edition of BioAsia, leaders of the Indian biotech industry discussed about the ways to gear up the Indian biotech industry to face the global challenges. Sandeep Gupta, managing director of Eli Lilly India, said, “Biopharma companies are exploring various outsourcing and partnering models. Bigger MNCs like Eli Lilly have changed their model from fully-leveraged pharmaceutical model to collaboration models, especially for a market like India. The small biotech model is now being emulated by big pharma to reinvigorate R&D in several ways.”

Dr Rajesh Jain, managing director, Panacea Biotec, said, “Money is not the only issue in innovation. The bigger pharma giants have a drying R&D pipeline and productivity. We need to leverage human minds not resources. We have to be innovative in a more innovative manner.”

The other common points that came out in the discussion were-need for platform technologies, a model based on risk and reward sharing, focus on biologics, creation of autonomous R&D units and creative funding approaches leading to newer business models.

Medical devices cluster in Hyderabad

Andhra Pradesh will set up MedTech Valley, a worldclass cluster for manufacturing medical devices and equipment near Genome Valley at Shameerpet in Hyderabad.

The state government will provide 1,200 acres of land for the project. In the first phase, 200 acres are being developed by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority. The project will be executed by a public-private partnership model and will get assistance from the Center for Infrastructure Development.

Jahanara Parveen in Hyderabad

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