Biotech industry to emerge as global key player in future
India is among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world and ranks third in Asia-Pacific region and is the largest producer of recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine. The sector is divided into five major segments: bio-pharma, bio-services, bio-agri, bioindustrial and bio-informatics.
The success of biotechnology in extending the frontiers of knowledge has provided benefits to society in a wide range of sectors such as agriculture, medicine and health, forestry, animal husbandry, environment protection, and improving the quality of products and services. While India was not naïve in the biotech processes, the understanding on the process to product conversion came much later. In the last 3 decades, an up rise in the field of biotechnology as a core scientific and technological area has been observed.
From the initial struggling days,
India has now emerged as a wellestablished biopharma exporter.
The changing profile of health biotechnology scenario in India is quite evident from its growing number of biotechnology companies. A number of Indian companies have achieved notable successes. For instance, Panacea Biotec has played major role in the eradication of Polio disease worldwide while Bangalore based Biocon claims a quarter of the world market for pectinase, an enzyme that breaks down the pectin in fruit juice. SII is the largest exporter of vaccines to developing world by volume.
Currently, India’s biotech industry holds 2 per cent of the global market share and is the third largest in the Asia-Pacific region. India has gained prominence as a partner of choice in bilateral cooperation in this field and emerged as a vaccine hub e.g., the Biocon Bristol-Myers Squibb Research & development centre (BBRC) at Bangalore, is collaboration between BMS and Syngene- a Biocon group company. Similarly, Serum Institute of India acquired the Netherlands based Bilthoven Biologicals. Domestic companies have developed strong capabilities in vaccine development. An injectable cholera vaccine was available in India until 1973 which was discontinued due to its poor efficacy and until 2012; the JE vaccine used in India was imported from outside country. In 2009, Shantha Biotechnics has launched an inactivated cholera vaccine and JE vaccine was launched by Biological E in 2013. In 2014, Bharat Biotech launched Rotavac- the vaccine against diarrhoea and obtained WHO prequalification for the product in 2018. Panacea Biotec obtained the WHO approval for the Easy five TT in 2008 and in 2017 has launched the world’s first fully liquid hexavalent vaccine, Easy Six. One of the landmark achievements which demonstrate the potential of Indian Biotech industries was the US FDA approval of Biocon’s Ogivri, a biosimilar Trastuzumab, codeveloped with Mylan in Dec, 2017. Today, India remains unmatched for its price competitiveness to
Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). According to GAVI data, India accounted for a dominant 60 percent of their vaccine volume supply in 2014. Bio-services are another major Indian biotech sector that has acquired reputation of leading destination for conducting clinical trials, contract research and contract manufacturing.
In the coming 5 years
The Indian biotech industry is likely to experience significant growth on the back of increasing economic prosperity, health consciousness and a billion-plus population base. Biotechnology industry’s growth in India is primarily driven by vaccines and recombinant therapeutics. The Indian vaccine manufacturers have a robust products pipeline under development. As these products are launched, the dependence on imports will be reduced and there will be a market choice with innovative, affordable, effective and safer vaccines than what is available now.
Several new vaccines will be introduced by domestic companies against diseases such as Dengue, Pneumonia, etc. Government of India sees the growth of Biotech industry to reach a $100 Billion by 2025, by investing and funding on research infrastructure and research activities. Therefore, it is the right time for
Indian Biotech industries to lead from the front, invest for innovation, and collaborate with each other to realize this vision.
Joint Managing Director, Panacea Biotec Limited
DR RAJESH JAIN, Joint Managing Director, Panacea Biotec Limited