Emerging and surging

Exactly 30 years after India’s first biotechnology company Biocon was set up, the Indian biotech industry finally seems to have got its act together. As of last November, we have a National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (NBRA). The time to aim and plan for global dreams seems to be right. Biotech has become the latest sunrise sector in the Indian economy, as it is fast gaining ground to be at par with information technology. An Ernst & Young survey identifies India as one of the five emerging biotech leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm also ranked India third in the region based on the number of biotech companies in the country. India is already the world’s largest vaccine producer as well as the largest cultivator of BT cotton.

All these indicators led us at Express Pharma to launch Express Biotech, a bi-monthly supplement dedicated to biotechnology, analysing industry news for biotech professionals. In the coming issues, Express Biotech will cover biotech in all its hues—red biotech (medical), white (industrial) and green (agriculture).

In our inaugural issue, we look at the interplay between Big Pharma and biotech. Besides growing as an independent sector, biotech is also being looked upon as the ‘engine of innovation’ for the pharmaceutical industry. Quotes like “Classic pharma is dead” and “Biotech may engulf pharma” are now the norm, but biotech still has many regulatory hurdles and funding challenges. Big Pharma is also using diagnostics and other biotech offerings as a diversification strategy to shore up decreasing revenues as more blockbusters go off-patent.

We welcome suggestions and contributions to Express Biotech and pledge to do all we can to put Indian biotech firmly on the global expressway.

Viveka Roychowdhury