India wants in on the biotech hub trend

India should take a cue from the biotech hotbeds of the U.S. and U.K., a local trade groups says, investing in infrastructure to help foster startups and grow innovation clusters of its own.

According to India's Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises, the government needs to pony up about $4 billion a year over the next 5 years to lay the groundwork for a biotech boom, which the group believes could bring in $100 billion in revenue by 2025, according to Business Standard. The current annual growth rate of India's biotech sector is around 18%, ABLE Director Anil Chauhan told the newspaper, claiming the right federal investment could accelerate that figure to 30%.

The group is looking to mimic successful biotech hubs like Boston and Cambrige, U.K., where startups operate alongside top-tier research institutions and Big Pharma R&D operations with an air of open collaboration. India already has the makings of such clusters in Bangalore and Hyderabad, according to ABLE, but the nation's fledgling biotech scene needs federal support to reach its full potential, Chauhan told Business Standard.

"The government needs to invest in creating infrastructure especially for start-ups in this sector, like common research facilities, apart from creating an enabling regulatory environment," he said.

Meanwhile, more and more biopharma outfits are embracing the idea of abandoning their far-flung outposts in favor of settling in among collaborators and rivals. Baxter ($BAX) is the latest big drugmaker to set sites on Boston's R&D cluster, following the lead of Pfizer ($PFE), Novartis ($NVS), Sanofi ($SNY) and others as it moves in next to MIT, Harvard and a slew of startups. And, over in the U.K., the triangle of London, Cambridge and Oxford has established a similar gravitational pull, as Merck ($MRK), AstraZeneca ($AZN) and others lay down roots in the region.

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