India's biotech efforts rip page from U.S. playbook

When I've talked to biotech insiders based in the U.S. about India, it's often in the context of tapping the South Asian country for clinical trials. But India has plans of its own to develop innovative products, too, and Forbes took a deep look at how that country's Department of Biotechnology is driving those efforts.

The Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI) in Gurgaon, for example, was set up two years ago to speed the development of novel life sciences products from laboratories to the market. It uses a strategy of fostering collaborations among physicians, basic researchers, hospitals and biotech companies. In fact, Forbes wrote that the institute has borrowed its strategy from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, which has been a key source of new biotech products and medical devices in the Boston area for years.

While India's biotech market is tiny compared with that of the U.S., it's not hard to imagine how efforts like the THSTI could eventually bear fruit at some point in the not-too-distant future. The Indian government appears to be serious about becoming much more than a destination for Western companies to conduct clinical trials and outsourcing R&D. As the Forbes story says, India's Department of Biotechnology managed to gain support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a rotavirus vaccine and to recruit talent to the country such as MIT neuroscientist Mriganka Sur and Rafi Ahmed, an immunologist from Emory University.

- read the Forbes story