The Karnataka government promoted Bengaluru Bio-Innovation Centre will soon be operational, giving plenty of opportunities for innovative ideas to be commercialised and leading to blossoming of several startups in the fields of life sciences and pharmaceuticals, chief minister Siddaramaiah said, here today.
“The Bio-Innovation Centre will be an incubation-cum-accelerator because it is not just about taking an idea to proof of concept stage, but also about how you convert an idea to a marketable product,” he said.
Speaking after inaugurating the Bangalore Bio 2015, a state government sponsored annual biotechnology event, Siddaramaiah said this facility along with the Bio-venture fund being set up by the state government will give a big boost to the biotech sector.
He said the Vision Group on Biotechnology is in the process of finalising its inputs for revising the Biotech policy. “I am sure that the Vision Group will focus on maternal and child health, malnutrition, poor sanitation, agriculture, bio-fuels and such other issues that require the attention of the government. Further, the state government will take steps for positioning the state as the global leader in Asia,” he said.
The Indian biotechnology sector has multiplied six times from 2003 to reach more than $ 6 billion. The compounded annual growth ratge of 20 per cent to 22 per cent in this sector is very encouraging. The Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) Report has projected that the combined total of biotechnology and healthcare in India will touch $ 100 billion by 2025.
The chief minister also assured the industry that the state government will do all it can to create a conducive and investor-friendly environment in the state for the growth of the biotechnology sector.
Speaking on the occasion, S R Patil, minister for IT, BT, Science and Technology and Planning said the biotechnology sector has grown consistently in Karnataka due to the industry friendly policies of the state. The state accounts for over 50 per cent of the core biotech companies in the country. Karnataka was the first state to announce an exclusive biotech policy, he said.
He said India has the third largest pool of technologically qualified manpower. Yet, the biotech industry is faced with talent shortage. Out of every 100 post-graduate students in the country, 10 are below average, 70 are average and only 20 are above average. Of the 20 above average, 10 leave the country for higher studies or job opportunities, leaving Indian companies with very little high quality talent, he said.
To address the issue of shortage of talent for the Biotech sector, State Government has sanctioned 12 BT Finishing Schools. “The one-year course of BT Finishing Schools, as per the feedback we have received, is highly rewarding. Majority of the students undergoing the course at the BT Finishing Schools are being absorbed by the industry, in partnership with which the BT Finishing Schools are conducting the course,” Patil said.
Agri biotech park
The Nutri/Nutraceutical and Phyto-Pharmaceutical Park (N2P2) in Mysore will be setup in collaboration with CFTRI. Feasibility study is on in respect of the Agri-biotech Park proposed to be set up in Dharwad in collaboration with University of Agricultural Sciences.
The state government has also announced setting-up of a $ 10 million Bio-Venture Fund, to cater to certain hi-tech areas with strong social relevance, such as Transgenics, Stem Cell Biology among others, he added.