Biotech companies in the South East Asian countries must focus more on producing their own end products for domestic markets as well as exports, said Prof. Sidney Altman, Nobel Laureate and Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, USA
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the eighth edition of India's biggest biotech event Bangalore Bio 2008, Altman said the institutions and companies should also focus more on contributing to the educational institutes and non-profit organizations, which are responsible for generating 80-90% of new ideas that worth commercialization.
About 90 % of ideas that eventually become patents in the hands of companies are generated in academic institutions, Altman said. "In terms of contribution to the society, the biotech sector stands in the top league. For an investment of one dollar, this sector is giving back $1.25 to the company and 50 cents to the society. 25% of the benefits are being ploughed back to the society. Two thirds of the income of this sector is going for the HR costs and thus it is a major job creator," he added.
"As this year's theme is global partnering, the even should be used by the participants to arrive at logical conclusions for innovations through partnerships at various levels," said Dr Kiran Mazumdar – Shaw, Chairperson, Karnataka's Vision Group on Biotechnology and CMD, Biocon Limited. These partnerships are necessary for survival as well as to be more competitive, she added. India should become a global hub for low cost vaccines, she envisioned."
Bangalore Bio 2008 is well crafted to facilitate cross border partnerships and every participant can derive something from the partnerships using the platform of the event, she hoped. Dynamism of the sector and its current rapid growth rate is amazing, said H.E. Jerome Bonnafont, Ambassador of France in India. "Biotech development is different from any other development as it touches the secrets of life and has ethical demands. India has been addressing those questions with due respect to human life," he said.
Shri Sudhakar Rao, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, said, "Biotech sector has achieved 35% growth in the past few years. Karnataka became a preferred location for foreign investments." Karnataka's Biotech Park, phase I of which is being completed, will be an exemplary model for Asia, he added. "State government has set up a venture fund for biotech sector and became role model for other states," he said.
Dr. M. K. Bhan, Secretary, Government of India, Department of Biotechnology, said, "2008 is important in many ways for biotech sector in India as it laid foundations for the future in economic and social terms. 16 new national universities and 13 new national institutes were started this year," he said.