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Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai October 12 , 2020
The government is set to come up with a national bioeconomy roadmap for 2025 focusing on genomics, AI for healthcare and precision medicine. This will spur the growth of Indian life sciences industry.

Confirming this, Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, department of biotechnology (DBT) said, “We are currently preparing a national bioeconomy roadmap for 2025 and there are several areas such as genomics, AI for healthcare and precision medicine that need to be probed. Human resource and infrastructure capacity building is extremely critical, and in the next 3-4 years we will see the number of startups rise from 3,500 to 10,000 and 50 incubators to 100 incubators, and we will also see 10 manufacturing hubs across the country.”

The DBT has been propelling India’s bioeconomy by providing an enabling ecosystem to promote biotechnology research and improve capacity building across the country.

India’s National Biotechnology Development Strategy, announced in 2015, laid major emphasis on generation of biotech products, processes and technologies for enhanced efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness in the areas of affordable health care and wellness, food and nutritional security; environmental safety; clean energy, biofuel, and bio-manufacturing among others.

India’s bioeconomy or bio-based economy is likely to grow to US$ 100 billion in size by 2025 from US$ 62.5 billion in 2019 on the back of innovations in biotech and efforts made by all stakeholders.

The bioeconomy continues to be spearheaded by the biopharma segment. It has alone contributed to 58 per cent share of the total bioeconomy by value in 2019. Half of the biopharma economy is through diagnostics and medical devices. Vaccines account for 30 per cent of the bioeconomy by value, while biotherapeutics contributed for the rest.

Research services’ contribution to bioeconomy along with the BioIT and IT healthcare portfolio is estimated at USD 9.5 billion.

The Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) has been engaging the members and key stakeholders to raise India's efforts in the direction of bio-based economy.

India already has many of the necessary ingredients needed in order to grow its bioeconomy, such as a talented and enthusiastic scientific workforce. However, not all the ingredients are in place in order for the country to reach the next level.

In business-as-usual scenario, India’s bioeconomy is estimated to reach around US$ 80 billion by 2025. But it will approach US$ 100 billion in 2025 if various bottlenecks in regulation and policies are removed and industry given stimulation. Further, India’s bioeconomy can support 10 million jobs in 2025 and provide access to high value medical treatments in emerging areas like gene therapy, vein to vein cell therapy and stem cells therapy.

Agreeing with this, a senior CDSCO official stated, “Regulation needs to be responsive, responsible and robust. Our regulation needs to be sensitive to the fact that was developed over here needs to be internationally acceptable. As we move forward, industry-academia linkages are imperative and this requires a robust regulatory mechanism. It needs to be transparent, accountable, responsive and sensitive to the needs of the time.”

The country is seen as the pharmacy of the world while being among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world. It is home to the world’s leading vaccine and pharmaceutical companies. Every 2 out of 3 children in the developing world are immunized with vaccines manufactured in India, said Dr Rajesh Jain, chairman, CII National Biotechnology Committee & managing director, Panacea Biotec.

“We must build on our skill base to further enhance our competitiveness. We need our SME’s to scale up and go global. These scale up success stories will form the backbone for building strong enterprises which are important,” he said.

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