Guest blogger: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman & Managing Director, Biocon, Ltd.
Biotechnology holds the promise for our future, be it food, healthcare, environmental sustainability, and even renewable energy. It is critically important for Indian biotechnology to be recognized on the world stage, and indeed our ascendance in this industry is promising.
India is moving toward an innovative culture that will drive biotechnology’s continued growth. We are moving in the right direction – the Indian biotechnology sector’s prospects have never looked brighter. But there is more work that needs to be done. We need to increase collaborations and deal making across the biotech industry in India and globally, while promoting our assets and capabilities to global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies as well as to investors and other financial stakeholders. Many biopharmaceutical companies want to diversify into generic drugs and biosimilars and are looking to India for partners based on our leadership in those segments.
As industry leaders, we must take the lead in educating and informing regulatory authorities on the complexities of biosimilars and differentiating them from generics. Our partners in the US may be helpful in guiding our efforts to ensure quality, safety, and legal protections for biosimilars by creating a streamlined and comprehensive regulatory approval process for biologics, including biosimilars, that is rigorous and timely.
At Biocon, our approach is focused on doing things in a differentiated way—daring to be different in order to stand out. Similarly, India has followed its own path in developing its biotech sector. We have come a long way. One of the biggest challenges Indian biotech firms have faced is raising capital. The Indian financial market is far more risk averse than the US biotech sector, which has forced biotech firms to focus on a revenue model based on services. As a result, few companies dared invest in new drug development; most Indian biotech firms provided research services, clinical development and diagnostic services to keep their operations going. In that regard, most of these companies emulated the outsourcing model of the software services sector.
Indian companies now are realizing the potential of being strong development partners in drug innovation. Indian firms are rapidly moving up the value chain by developing novel treatments for cancer, diabetes, and many other conditions. Biocon’s recent deal with Pfizer is indeed a significant inflection point in our globalization path. When I launched Biocon in 1978, my goal was to build a company that would someday be a global leader in biotechnology. We are on our way to achieving that goal.
Likewise, my dream is to see India as a global destination for biotechnology. I believe that the industry will contribute significantly to our country’s prosperity, create new opportunities for our young people and improve the quality of life for all Indians.
Biocon is a fully integrated healthcare company that delivers innovative biopharmaceutical solutions. From discovery to development and commercialisation, we have the defining science, cost-effective drug development capabilities and significant manufacturing capacity to move ideas to market.