CII with UoP to launch Biotech Resource Centre in the cityNews — By The Desk on November 12, 2009 at 12:53 PM
Times of India: Almost eight years after it was proposed under the Maharashtra biotechnology policy 2001, the state’s first Biotech Resource Centre’, which will be a single-window facilitator for existing and new biotech units, institutes, students and other stakeholders, is set for a phased launch in the city on November 14.
The proposed centre will be run jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the University of Pune (UoP). Subsequently, it will be put through an expansion mode to involve other agencies including the state government.
Chairman of CII Maharashtra state council Pramod Chaudhari told TOI, “The UoP has agreed to give us some space at its bioinformatics centre to operate the resource facility with a limited staff of three to four people.” Eventually, a bigger full-fledged centre will be established after a year’s time, he said.
The launch will coincide with the Biotech Summit 2009′, which is to be held at the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration (Yashada) on November 14 to mark Maharashtra biotechonology day.
Biotechnology relates to the scientific processes and techniques that use living organisms, parts of organisms and enzymes, proteins etc. derived from living systems to make or modify products, improve plant and animal productivity or develop microorganisms for special use.
Maharashtra has been at the forefront of the country-wide effort to promote biotechnology industry as well as academic institutions offering studies in the field. This is primarily driven by the 2001 biotech policy that envisaged the setting up of the Maharashtra Biotechnology Board and Maharashtra Biotechnology Commission for promoting and regulating the sector.
Chaudhari, who is also executive chairman of biofuels major Praj Industries, said, “The sector was longing for a resource centre, which would be a one-stop source of information and relevant database for entrepreneurial ventures in the varied fields of biotech applications.”
He said, “The focus will be on the processes pertaining to regulations and policy issues, intellectual property rights (IPR), testing and laboratory facilities, certification, marketing, venture capital etc.” It will assist new units in tapping the right human resource; provide access to research facilities for development and testing, biological databases, computer modelling and simulation, cell cultures, microbial cultures etc, he added.
According to Chaudhari, the biotech industry in the country recorded a healthy 30-plus per cent annual growth for four years before the slump in 2007-08 when the growth came down to 20 per cent.
The industry drew total investments worth Rs 2,700 crore by 2007-08 with the biopharma segment dominating the sector with a 67 pc share followed by the bioservices (15 pc), agri-biotechnology (4 pc) and bioinformatics (2 pc). “The impending five years hold a lot of promise vis-a-vis revenue generation and growth,” he said.
Chaudhari said, India is increasingly being viewed as a hub for global clinical trials as well as executing contract services. The country has further progressed on the patents front.
Council for scientific and industrial research’s (CSIR) former director general R A Mashelkar, who spearheaded the state’s biotech policy effort, has taken a keen interest in the setting up of the resource facility.
The biotech summit will be attended, among others, by state industries secretary A M Khan, development commissioner Malini Shankar, Serum Institute director S D Revatkar, Reliance Life Sciences research director Venkata Ramana and Mahyco Monsanto Research director Jagresh Rana.