India aims to become “a global innovation hub” for biotechs by 2020

pharmafile | March 21, 2017 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Research and Development India, biotech 

The Indian Government has announced its intention to transform the nation into a hub for global biotech activity via its Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), which celebrated its fifth foundation day this week.

Set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), BIRAC is a not-for-profit enterprise of the Indian Government which operates by facilitating research and innovation in developing biotech companies by acting as a support interface for national product development interests. It offers assistance at all stages, from ideation through to commercialisation. Over its five years it has offered support to over 600 projects and 850 biotechs and start-ups, resulting in the creation of 66 technologies and 120 intellectual property rights.  

Y. S. Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, presided over the fifth foundation day, titled “Impacting the Biotech Innovation Ecosystem”.

“Research and innovation has been one of the key areas that the Prime Minister and this government have focused on,” he remarked. “BIRAC, which has completed five years today, stands at the cusp of a great leap. Globally, BIRAC has been hailed as one of the most effective government measures to create an enabling environment for research and development to flourish in a country. We aim to develop India into a global innovation hub by 2020 and BIRAC has paved the way to deliver on that mandate.”

Funded by the DBT, the enterprise hosts nine flagship schemes and boasts international partnerships with renowned organisations such as the Wellcome Trust, Nesta and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. BIRAC will play a key role in the government’s Start-Up India Action Plan, an initiative launched in January last year with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship and growth in start-up companies.

Dr Renu Swarup, Senior Adviser, Department of Biotechnology and Managing Director, BIRAC, explained: “Through initiatives such as Start-Up India and the Science and Technology for Harnessing Innovations or SATHI, the government is ushering in supportive policies and removing regulatory barriers to create an atmosphere of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. The world as a whole stands to gain with Indian innovators stepping up and changing the way we address the grand challenges we face today. We are proud that BIRAC has created an enabling environment for the biotechnology industry to prosper.”

Matt Fellows

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