Boom spurs India's biotech industry to hatch expansion plans

After seeing a painful contraction during the worldwide economic downturn, India's biotech industry reports that it's booming again, with revenue shooting up by more than half over the past year. And a leading biotech executive in the subcontinent, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, says that the industry is poised for another big leap in the year ahead as international developers look to India for low-cost drug discovery and manufacturing work.

"India has emerged as an attractive market for the global pharma sector, as evident from increasing investment flows into the country. We offer huge cost advantages with high value of services," says Shaw, the chairperson of Biocon. Shaw cited clinical data management and discovery work as two key areas that India has developed key expertise on. And with developers the world over looking for more efficient ways to develop new therapies, Shaw estimates that the overall revenue for the industry will soon break the $5 billion mark.

Speaking to a biotech summit held in Bangalore, the industry outlined plans for a new venture fund to back start-up biotechs, with new biotech schools being planned as well. "Sector specific biotech parks will be set up at Mysore, Mangalore, Dharwad and Bidar in north Karnataka," said Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. "Similarly, a bio-cluster will be set up in the Bangalore Biotech Park on a public-private partnership mode."

India's biotech sector has had a mixed record over the years. And recently much of the international biopharma focus has shifted to China, where major pharma companies have been creating huge new R&D complexes as they plot rapid growth in the emerging market.

- here's the story from the Economic Times