time for biotechnology
Success is all about timing. Being at
the right place and doing the right thing is necessary of course, but
if it is also at the right time then magic happens. We are in India, in
biotechnology today in 2009 and magic is happening Q.E.D. I had the
privilege of a recent conversation with Steve Burrill (of Burrill and
Company) in which he pointed out that four out of the five global
challenges today – healthcare, food security, energy security
and environment – are directly addressed by biotechnology. So
in the modern history of technology, biotechnology is poised very
strategically. I would also argue that we are entering an
exciting period for the biotechnology enterprise in India. We have gone
past the teething problems of a new industrial sector and the threshold
of criticality in size and ecosystems. The voice of our enterprise is
BioSpectrum and as the newly elected president of ABLE, it is with
pleasure that I write this guest editorial.
This special issue of BioSpectrum, dedicated to content created by the
readers, covers a lot of ground with a rich variety of topics
that reflecting the diversity in our field. Three themes stand out.
Biologics and in particular the emergence of biosimilars is an
important one for our industry. Dr Gopal Dasika of Actis
Biologics takes us on a global journey of the action in
biosimilars with an account of companies in India, China, South Korea
and Europe that are leveraging these new opportunities to good effect.
The article by Dr Rajeev Soni of Premas
Biotech, complements the above article with a useful pedagogic account
of the challenges in discovery of novel biologics.
The age of personalized medicine is coming and the agenda that
biotechnology innovation has to deliver on presents spectacular
opportunities. Dr Bhuwnesh Agrawal of Roche Diagnostics takes us on a
historic tour of personalized medicine showing the central role that
diagnostics plays in ensuring that safer personalized healthcare can
deliver as opposed to a “one size fits all”
blockbuster view of yesteryear. Several experts have noted that
personalized medicine has been slow in coming because the market
segmentation is a challenge that large pharmaceutical companies have
resisted. I believe that resistance has passed now and the new mantra
has taken root. Dr Rajesh Jain of Panacea Biotec takes us
through an understanding of why traditional pharma marketing efforts
are nearly over.
To a lay citizen, the field of biotechnology evokes awe because of the
deep multi-disciplinary research investments it takes to bring out
innovative products. We get a sample of how materials
research in academia is leading us to new ways of thinking about drug
delivery and health monitoring. The paper by Sharath Ahuja is on the
work on silica nanotubes by Dr Aninda J Bhattacharyya and team at the
Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. The issue also raises some
immediate concerns for the sector of clinical research organizations in
India that are facing a crisis of overcapacity. Dr Sudhir Pai
of Lotus Clinical Research Academy elucidates the issues and
suggests strategies to counter the challenges.
In signing off, let me just add that as the executive council of
ABLE is keen to represent your interests and help you
address your challenges as the apex body of our industry.
Please feel free to contact me personally or any of your elected
council members if there is such an issue. Happy reading!
CEO of Strand Life Sciences and president of ABLE, Bangalore