Throwing the doors open to domestic as well as international drug innovation talent, the Indian government is all set to launch a National Biopharma Mission tomorrow – a first ever industry-academia enterprise primed to boost drug production with an eye on a staggering USD16 billion global biopharmaceutical market.
Currently, India's share in the global biopharmaceutical market is a tame 2.8 per cent and the programme aims to elevate this to 5 per cent to stave off stiff competition from China and Korea.
The programme has been named Innovate in India, or i3, which will witness an investment of USD250 million with USD125 million as a loan from the World Bank. It is anticipated to be a game changer for the Indian biopharmaceutical industry and aspires to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector. The mission will be formally launched by the Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi.
"India has been an active player in the pharmaceutical industry and has contributed globally towards making life saving drugs and low cost pharmaceutical products accessible and affordable for those in need. Be it the rotavirus vaccine, heart valve prosthesis or affordable insulin, India has been a forerunner in these and many more. Despite these advances, the Indian biopharmaceutical industry is still 10-15 years behind their counterparts in the developed countries and faces stiff competition from China and Korea," according to a statement from the Ministry of Science & Technology here.
The lacuna primarily exists due to disconnected centres of excellence, less focus on translational research and staggered funding. An immediate need was felt to focus on consolidated efforts to promote product discovery, translational research and early stage manufacturing in the country to ensure inclusive innovation, the Ministry said
"i3 is committed to addressing these gaps with a mission to make India a hub for design and development of novel, affordable and effective biopharmaceutical products and solutions. The aim of the mission is to enable and nurture an ecosystem for preparing India’s technological and product development capabilities in biopharmaceuticals to a level that will be globally competitive over the next decade, and transform the health standards of India’s population through affordable product development," it said.
As a flagship programme of the Government of India in collaboration with World Bank, it promises to boost the growth curve for domestic biopharma in India by accelerating the translation of research concepts into viable products, supporting clinical validation, enabling sustainable networks for collaboration between industry and academia, and supporting entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The mission will provide a holistic and integrated approach to strengthen and support the entire product development value chain for accelerating the research leads to product development. This will help not only in immediate product development addressing public health needs, but will also help to create an ecosystem which will facilitate the development of a continuous pipeline of products.
The mission is to be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology will bring together expertise from national and international corridors to provide strategic guidance and direction to move promising solutions through the product development value chain. The programme stands unique in its approach as it becomes a cradle to innovate, co-create and co-facilitate scientific discoveries and offers young entrepreneurs an avenue to engage with the best in the industry.