Mr Siddharth Dhodi is currently the manager, life sciences at Yes Bank
Over the last decade a number of events have shaped the Indian biotech industry by having far-reaching effects on not just the companies or entities involved, but on the entire biotech space encompassing the industry, academia and regulatory authorities. Here is a brief look at some of these events.
Private equity funding: When GE Capital acquired the stakes of Syngene in October 2012, it was the right signal for investing in life science companies. I strongly believe that Public Equity (PE) investments will give the necessary push required to the industry. What made this deal different was that it involved a prominent Contract Research Organization (CRO), whereas previous investments were restricted only to pharma companies. This deal has hopefully set in motion the momentum required for investments in the life sciences space, generally, as well as for Syngene to opt for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) soon.
Shantha-Sanofi collaboration: Shantha Biotechnics was a path-breaker when it came to affordable vaccines, with its indigenously developed hepatitis B vaccine. The fact that Sanofi chose to take over Shantha, showed the world that Indian biotech was so attractive that a major player like Sanofi could be interested. Even today, Shantha has a fantastic pipeline of vaccines.
Glenmark's outlicensing model: The candidate outlicensing model has been very effectively used by Glenmark, who has been a pioneer in this field. An important event was the outlicensing of a novel monoclonal antibody, GBR 500, since it was the first biologic being outlicensed, and it was not just another New Chemical Entity (NCE). This was a major achievement in the biologics space for India.
Implementation of the National Biotech Development Strategy: Funding today is a different ball game as compared to the decade before 2000. This one visionary step paved the way for hugely popular schemes such as Biotechnology Industry Partnership Program (BIPP), Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI), soft loans and grants for not just large companies, but also for small and mid sized life sciences companies.