BIOSPECTRUM STUDENT LECTURE SERIES
"Become complete professionals"
The fourth BioSpectrum Student Lecture Series held at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai on December 10, 2005, evoked good response from the student community. As many as 340 students participated in the event which was inaugurated by Prof. MY Kamat, head, Food and Fermentation Technology, Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), University of Mumbai. The event was sponsored by Padmashree Group of Institutions.
In his inaugural address, Prof. Kamat gave a call to students to emerge as complete professionals to serve the society better. Stressing on the need to fill the gap between science and technology, from laboratory to industrial scale, he said, "The Indian industry is facing problems with regard to yield and recovery of bioproducts. And purification of biomolecules account more than 80 percent of the production cost. Hence it requires research in special techniques of purification and isolation. To bridge this gap, ICT has been offering an MTech course in Bioprocess Technology, where the potential is tremendous for the benefit of mankind."
Industry experts like R Subramanian, general manager, Transasia BioMedicals, SS Adkar, senior manager - biotech, Rossari Biotech, Ravi Limaye, vice president - business development, marketing and commercial strategy, GlaxoSmithKline, shared their experiences. They also spoke about the opportunities in their core areas of operations.
Highlighting the opportunities in the diagnostics sector, Subramanian said "Lifestyle patterns are changing in the country. The incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases is on the rise. The country needs almost 80,000 additional hospital beds every year for the next three to four years to adequately meet growing healthcare demands. Private healthcare companies are looking at tapping this huge market that is estimated at $18.7 billion. The industry is growing at about 13 per cent annually and is expected to grow at 15 per cent over the next four to five years. Hence India is a land of opportunities."
Sudheer S Adkar noted that the global demand for industrial enzymes in 2004 was $2.5 billion with an annual growth rate of 5–10 percent. Hence the thrust of the firms was to develop efficient strains with GM tools and to optimize downstream processes in terms of costs and technologies. "Young students with proper training and exposure stand better opportunities in this arena as the companies are looking for trained manpower," he added.
In his presentation on "Biotechnology – the future is bright", Ravi Limaye observed that the market trends showed a clear shift towards biotechnology driven specialty products. "This is because they have potential for longer life cycles than primary care products and of lower risk of generic exposure. There is huge potential for India in the area of clinical research and in global R&D value chain. The country has a significant treatment naïve patient base, English-speaking people, more hospitals, scientific pool, doctors etc."
Exhorting students to take up short-term courses in biotechnology, Rajesh Shenoy, principal, Padmashree Institute, said biotech companies were now looking for ready-to-start kind of candidates. "Keeping in mind the requirements of the industry, our institute has developed a short-term certificate course in Molecular and Animal Cell Culture Techniques. The course gives a hands-on experience on various preparative as well as production tools."
Later, students from UICT, Bhavan's college, KET's VG Vaze college, Birla College of Science and Arts, Royal College, Jhunjhunwala College, Welingkar Institute of Management and Research, SIES college, Ruia college, KJ Somaiya college and Rai Foundation participated in an interactive Q&A session.