2009 Bringing Business When it Matters
There are times when
recession forces companies to rethink their investment plans, slash
people and suspend many ongoing projects. However the mood in air at
the recently concluded BioAsia 2009, a three-day life science business
conference in Hyderabad, India, was more of a joyous feeling. Talks of
recession and declining sales made rounds, however, people were
optimistic that businesses will rebound soon— as soon as six
Jointly organized by the Federation of Asian Biotech Associations
(FABA), State Government of Andhra Pradesh (where Hyderabad is
located), University of Hyderabad, and All India Biotech Association
(AIBA), the event, which is in its sixth year, saw the participation of
over 3,000 people.
There were about 30 companies from the US, Singapore, India, Iran and
Spain participated in the event. Spain (Catalonia region), Sri Lanka
and Iran were the biggest foreign delegation who had come to the event
to sell their countries as an ideal location for biotechnology business
and also solicit business interests in their respective countries Some
of the top biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies such as Lonza and
Shantha Biotechnics have participated in the event.
BioAsia, one of the largest biotech and life sciences event in South
Asia, provided a platform for local and multinational companies to
network, display their products and technologies, and interact with the
There were two tracks and 17 sessions with about 72 speakers. Parallel
agri sessions were also there on all the three days with about 25
speakers in eight sessions. The sessions were well appreciated by the
participants. A number of students were also seen gathered in each
Pre-inauguration, there was a visit to the bio-park located in the
Genome Valley in Hyderabad. The park, one of the largest in Asia,
offers plug-and-play facilities for biotechnology companies.
“Besides the conference, there were a number of B2B meetings
held. Total number of meeting held in three days was 280, while there
were 665 meeting requests sent before the event started and of these,
290 requests for meetings are pending,” said Momme Christian
Velmede of PharmABC, a Germany-based life sciences B2B meetings
consultant. Last year there were just 70 meetings. A 300 percent
increase in the B2B meetings this year is quite remarkable. At a time
when the global life science story is not very encouraging, the number
of visitors and companies participated in the event shows that
biotechnology hasn’t lost its gravy train.
The next edition of BioAsia will be held in Hyderabad from February
Awards of Excellence
During the Inaugural Session of BioAsia 2009, Dr. Y S Rajasekhara
Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh conferred the Genome Valley
Excellence Award 2009 to two eminent personalities in the field of
biotechnology. He also presented BioAsia Innovation Award, BioAsia
Young Minds Award, and Best Stall Award.
Genome Valley Excellence Award
1. Prof. Marc Van Montagu, founder and chairman, Institute of Plant
Biotechnology for Developing Countries, Belgium. The following
endeavors helped Dr. Montagu to win this award:
- Discovering the gene transfer mechanism between
agrobacterium and plants.
- Developing plant molecular mechanisms for cell
proliferation, and differentiation and response to abiotic stresses.
- Constructing transgenic crops resistant to insect
pest and tolerant to novel herbicides.
2. Dr. Martin Mackay, president, Pfizer Global Research and Development
(PGRD), US. The award winning activities of Dr. Mackay are:
BioAsia Innovation Award
- His pivotal role in forming the world’s largest
private biomedical research organization comprising over 13,000
- His stewardship role in increasing the number of Pfizer
biotechnology products from a single compound to over 25 in the last
- Establishing ‘Asia Pharma R&D
Dr. Sunil Kumar Verma, scientist, Center for Cellular and Molecular
Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, for novel universal technique to establish
the identity of enormous number of animal species for forensic
BioAsia Young Minds Award
B Abinaya, 11th standard student, Sri Sankara Senior Secondary School,
Chennai, for a project work on marine actinomycetes.
Winner: Vibha Seeds, Hyderabad, India
First runner-up: Lonza, Switzerland
Second runner-up: Matrix, Hyderabad, India.
Sanjeev Jain in Hyderabad