AP, Chhattisgarh, UK and France win Pavillion awards
|Padma awardees Dr Madhav Gadgil and D Chinnaiah (sitting) pose with UP minister for Information Technology, Rajendra Singh Rana, Karnataka deputy chief minister, BS Yediyurappa and Karnataka's IT and Biotechnology secretary, Dr Anup Pujari (standing from left to right).|
On Day 2 of Bangalore Bio 2006, awards were given to participants under various categories for their design, ingenuity and feedback from delegates. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa along with Rajendra Singh Rana and Chattisgarh Culture andTourism Minister,Brij Mohan Agarwal gave away awards and felicitated Padma Bhushan Madhav Gadgil and Padma Shri D Chinnaiah.
Delivering his keynote address, Yediyurappa said, "Karnataka's success in IT and BT was due to the availability of highly qualified skilled workers and technical resources. Our scientists and PhDs have given a lead in the biotech sector and we must improve and progress from here on."
In his special address at the Bangalore Bio 2006 Awards Nite, the UP Minister for Information Technology, Rajendra Singh Rana invited entrepreneurs from Karnataka to come and invest in his state. He also requested them to have a look at what UP has to offer.
To replicate the success of Karnataka in the biotech sector, the Uttar Pradesh government has sought Karnataka's help. A team of state government officials will be visiting UP in the next few weeks to access the situation and to lend a helping hand.
The poster session, a new section in Bangalore Bio 2006, received many creative and sensible posters from upcoming innovators and scientists. Sonu Bhaskar, Rucha Vinay Joshi, Sana Ansari and Satyalakshmi won the top honors.
|Aninda Sen, national sales manager, BioSpectrum, receiving the Best Small Pavillion award from UP minister for Information Technology, Rajendra Singh Rana.|
The States of India Pavillion awards went to the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Government of Chattisgarh. The Research Institute awards were given away to ICAR, CSIR and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) while BioSpectrum, Varda Biotech and YES Bank bagged awards in the Small Pavillion category. The Medium Pavillion awards were presented to Pall Life Sciences, Strand Life Sciences and Metahelix Life Sciences while Biozeen, Alfa Laval and Sartorius clinched the Pavillion awards. The International Pavillion awards went to France and the UK. On the occasion, a special award was presented to Avesthagen, the event sponsor.
Biotech fraternity speaks on soft aspect of drug development
|Dr BV Ravi Kumar, MD, XCyton Diagnostics|
An interdisciplinary session ontranslational research explored the way forward for drug discovery and elaborated on the major theme of soft aspect of drug development.
Chairing the session, Dr BV Ravi Kumar, managing director, XCyton Diagnostics, reflected that the major challenge in the realm for drug designing is the "ability to resurrect dying products".
Dr Gustaaf Van Reet, Board member and scientific advisor – Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Belgium and Viziphar Biosciences, observed that despite the dramatic reduction in the mortality rate over the past few decades and the coexistence of a plethora of needs and an equal number of opportunities, successful endeavors are still a rarity owing to the current knowledge gaps, technical gaps, reliability, liability, cost and affordability issues. He also suggested prognosis and prevention and individually targeted therapies as the emerging trends and strategies for the future.
Stating the mammoth scope of the biomedicine space, Dr DK Srivastava, professor, Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, North Dakota State University, USA, said that there were many opportunities for young researchers in the space of identification of enzymes as potential drug targets. He also added that currently there are 14,000 proteins and 75 enzymes identifies as potential drug targets.
Dr John Watson, director, Pharma–Biotech, Promega Corporation highlighted India's potential contribution in the drug discovery space. He opined that chemical genomics, movement from genetics to drug discovery R&D, hunting for transitional opportunities and partnering with western companies as the next best step for the emerging Indian biotech fraternity.
Multi skills a must for biotech entry
|Dr Anil Paul Kariath, president, training
and consulting, Biozeen
|Nobby Nazareth, CEO, Leader Prospects
India Pvt Ltd
If young aspirants plan to make it big in the biotech industry, then they have to build soft skills along with technical capabilities and express themselves as a team player in recruitment interviews.
Participating in a conference on "HRD: Shaping India's talent pool through specialization," prominent industry leaders and HR experts felt that it was difficult to find the right candidates if they are not able to tap their hidden potential.
It remains a challenge to identify the right candidates. Technical quality and people skills are the key criteria for hiring and training was the next biggest challenge.
Nobby Nazareth, CEO, Leader Prospects India Pvt Ltd said, "Most of the time, the candidates are not able to manage simple interviews, which is an opportunity lost for the student and the company as well. To bridge this gap, the industry and academia should work in close collaboration, build and focus beyond syllabi."
Gautham Nadig, director, Metahelix Lifesciences, said that science education needs to be looked afresh as good infrastructure alone will not guarantee great scientists. It is critical to focus on a course content and faculty. "It is difficult to get PhDs and specialized skilled persons. However, what motivates these scientists to join small firms is that their ability to solve difficult scientific problems or due to ownership of enterprise, networking, money and responsibility," he said.
Dr Anil Paul Kariath, president, training and consulting, Biozeen, called for a closer interaction between industry and academia to assess the right type of manpower. "Only then can we solve the problem of quality manpower with quantity manpower. The incorrect assessment of the situation has led to academia drifting from need, students not able to choose career path and hampering growth in the long run," he opined.
Dr Jagadish Mittur, director, Monsanto Research Center, chaired the conference.
Redefining life through stem cells
Technology and biology are converging fast. The result will transform everything from engineering to art and redefine life. This enveloping theme for the session on "Frontier technology: Sowing the seeds for tomorrow" explored several opportunities around stem cells.
Dr Vishwanath R Lingappa, chief technology officer, Prosetta Corporation, addressed the reason for elusiveness of bioinformatics and also highlighted the limitation of high resolution structured biology. A quick mention of Prosetta's ambitious plans for India covered the inception of the animal facility center in Mysore and extension of conformer specific monoclonal antibodies.
S Abhayakumar, chairman, Lifecell, India, reflected on what and why is whipping up so much hope in the vast arena of stem cells. He also observed that the percentage research on stem cells is 85 whereas the application stands negligible (of the order of 0-1 percent) and India being host to maximum number of diseases is amongst the few countries to realize the potential of this concept. He also urged public-private partnership in the scope of research for stem cells. Abhayakumar added that he is confident that in five years "we will have cure for one or two near fatal diseases."
Dr Alok Srivastava, professor, Christian Medical College, also noted on the hope and reality around stem cells.
Dr Franck Molina, scientist with the Centre for Pharmacology and Health Biotechnology, France, analysed biodata integration problems and emphasized that systems biology should challenge ways of selection and development of new therapeutics and diagnostics.
The other speakers at the session were Dr Anupama Gaur, application support manager, Labindia Instruments, Umesh Pawa, national manager, Applied Biosystems, who spoke on Microseq microbila Identification system and Mass Spectrometry and iTRAQ reagent respectively.
EU's offerings for Indian researchers
|Dr Andrew Sors, Minister Counsellor, Head of Science and Technology, European Commission Delegation to India, Bhutan and Nepal|
As the international partner in this year's Bangalore Bio 2006, the European Union (EU) announced exciting new opportunities for the research community in India, in particular with the 7th EU Research Framework Program, 2007–2013.
This cooperation will build upon and further extend Indian participation in the current 6th EU Research Framework Program (2002 – 2006). Here, more than 50 collaborative research projects include almost 75 participants in India. A few examples of institutions which are included are the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), the Indian Institutes of Technology in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Roorkee, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (New Delhi) and many others.
FP7 will be the largest international research and development program in the world. It is likely to have a budget in the region of 55 billion Euros (about $70 billion) during the period 2007–2013. It includes a wide range of activities, including collaborative research, investigator-driven research and research fellowships.
Addressing a press conference, Dr Andrew Sors, Minister Counsellor, Head of Science and Technology, European Commission Delegation to India, Bhutan and Nepal, underlined the great mutual advantages both for India and the EU. "India and the EU share the proud tradition of scientific excellence as well as a strong commitment to the crucial growth of science and technology for economic growth as well as for society needs. The EU is pleased to be closely and actively associated with Bangalore Bio 2006, which is seen as a major opportunity to strengthen links and partnerships across academia and enterprise in these fields of science and technology," he added.
The European Union greatly welcomes participation by Indian researchers and research institutions in FP7, in collaboration with scientists and institutions in Europe. The EU may fund successful applications based on independent peer review of proposals for joint research projects or for fellowships, he said.
Science Trek draws huge crowds
The centre of attraction at this year's Bangalore Bio 2006 was Science Trek, a state-of-the-art, world class laboratory on wheels dedicated to biotech, pharmacology and other science students in India. The lab on wheels is an initiative by Millipore India, Eppendorf India and Micro Devices Metrohm. It is for the first time ever that three majors have come together and invested in an initiative for students.
The mission of Science Trek is to showcase and demonstrate the latest lab equipment for applications ranging from PCR, membrane filtration, ion analysis and tissue culture to sample preparation for HPLC, LCMS among others. The mobile lab will visit educational/research institutions all over the country providing a opportunity for students to see the latest lab equipment in use, get practical insights, ask questions and widen their scientific horizons.
Additionally, the mobile lab will bridge the gap between the privileged, urban centers of learning in metros and the relatively unequipped labs in semi-urban and rural colleges. "Students in rural schools and colleges are at a major disadvantage, very often even basic lab equipment is not accessible to them. Science Trek will do its bit by making biotech lab related education more accessible," said Sudhir Kant, president, Millipore India. "Everyone should and will get a chance to see, touch, feel the latest in lab equipment. Our people will be at hand to explain and answer questions, clarify concepts. It is for this that all three companies have invested nearly Rs 25 lakhs in the van and the equipment," he added.
Among the many Millipore products on display in the lab is Direct Q 3 - the water purification system specially designed for educational institutions. The other products from Millipore include sample preparation kits and devices, sterile and non sterile filtration units, centrifugals, general filtration accessories, ion analysis instruments from Metrohm and
Cell manipulation and DNA amplification devices from Eppendorf India.
The lab was inaugurated by Dr Goverdhan Mehta, former director of IISc, Bangalore. Subhash Bagaria, chairman, Millipore India and teams from Eppendorf and Metrohm were present.
To begin with, Science Trek will cover educational institutions in the four states of South India. With success, the concept will be extended to other states as well.