Shaping Dynamics Of The Biotechnology Industry Globally, With Special Focus On India

Colonel Hemraj Singh Parmar, CEO, BR LifeHolding a Double Masters degree in Weapon Systems Technology Management (University of Pune) and Defence Management & Strategic Studies (University of Madras), Col. Hemraj is a seasoned Healthcare industry professional and has even served in the Indian Army for 23 years.

The global biotechnology market is growing at a break-neck speed, and the overall market is estimated to grow to a size of $471 billion by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 10.5 percent during the period from 2018-2025, rising from the current size of $218 billion in 2017. As per IBEF, Indian biotech industry is on a roll, and India is one of the top-10 biotech powerhouses in the world. The industry is set to contribute immensely to `Make in India' initiative. Currently, U.S. is the biggest biotech market in the world, followed by Japan and China. The size of the Indian biotech industry in 2017 was pegged at $11.6 billion, comprising two percent of the global industry. This is a small number considering that the top five biotech firms in the world had a market capitalisation of more than $1 trillion, with J&J leading the pack with close to $350 billion in 2018.

Indian government wishes to invest close to $5 billion over the next few years to take the industry size to $100 billion by 2025. Govt of India is promoting the industry through a host of initiatives such as Network of Technology Centres and promotion of startups through SIDBI & MSME. Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and some other government funded institutions such as National Biotechnology Board (NBTB) are working hard to turn India into a biotech hub for R&D, clinical research and manufacturing.

Sub-divisions within the Industry
Biotechnology is a very dynamic industry and has applications in four broad major industrial areas ­ healthcare, crop production & agriculture, non-food (industrial) uses of crops & other products (e.g. biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels), and environmental uses. Biopharma sector is the largest contributing sector, claiming about 62 percent of the total revenue, followed by bio-services(18 percent), bioagri (15 percent), bio-industry(four percent), and bioinformatics (one percent). Buoyed by a strong demand and viable investments scenario, India has emerged as a strong destination for clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing activities.

Technological Advancements that Will Help Drive the Industry
Some of the fastest growing fields in the biotech industry are the tissue
engineering and regeneration segment. Re-generative medicine and bone marrow transplant are other fields with applications in replacement or regeneration of tissues or body parts. This could get further fillip by 3D or 4D printing that could prove to be a boon in the organ starved world. Regenerative medicine holds immense promise, since millions of people die each year due to non-availability of organs, and biotechnology could help in that endeavour. Also, genetic testing allows the genetic diagnosis of vulnerabilities to inherited diseases and can also be used to determine a child's parentage (genetic mother and father), or in general, a person's ancestry. Gene editing will facilitate correcting genetic abnormalities much before an offspring is born and help find cure for diabetes or reduce susceptibility to HIV infections in future. Bio-markers could help in early detection and designing of cancer treatments, as late detections have been a bane in India, with more than half a million people dying of various cancers each year.

Buoyed by a strong demand and viable investments scenario, India has emerged as a strong destination for clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing activities

Genetically modified crops help increase the crop yield per acre and could help feed millions in low per acre produce in countries such as India. In India, it could lead to food security and better nutrition, besides obviating the need for more harmful carcinogenic pesticides that have found their way into our food chain. Bioremediation helps reduce harmful effects of pollutants in water, soil and other media by stimulating growth of beneficial microorganisms. Industrial biotechnology can be used in fermentation, production of enzymes, and useful genetically modifies organisms.

India's total oil import bill last year was close to $125 billion, a huge drain on our exchequer. Bioenergy could reduce dependence on fossil fuels by producing biofuel through agricultural and sewage wastes.

Clinical research in biotech could lead to finding cure for Alzheimer's disease. Gene therapy through CAR-T immuno-oncology therapies could help find cure for some of the common cancers.

Crystal GazingA
lot of biotech companies have exploited the poor Indians in the past under the pretext of clinical trials. Strong legislation is therefore advisable. Ayushman Bharat too needs cheaper medicines to make the scheme a resounding success. More than 60 percent of the Indian population still lives in rural areas with poor access to healthcare delivery and lack of affordability. Technological advancements can bridge the gap, and contribution of the biotechnology industry would be the key to success.

As per the industry experts, digitalization, automation, artificial intelligence (AI), enhanced data analysis, and a growing trend toward more personalized products will be among the hottest pharmaceutical developments in future. Advancements in AI, big data, IoT/IoMT, biotransformation, bioinformatics and 3D/4D printing could give further fillip to the industry. Data is no longer just a by-product; it is the new currency. We need more technological innovations to help drive costs downwards while maintaining patient centricity.

In the Union Budget 2017-18, the Department of Bio-technology (DBT) received Rs. 2,222 crore ($333.31 mil-lion), an increase of 22 percent to continue implementing the department's national biotech strategy and target increasing the turnover of the sector to $100 billion by 2025, from $7 billion in 2016.

Government of India must create the right environment to attract investment in the biotech industry and promote manufacturing under the now highly successful `Make in India' campaign. Only then can we hope to make healthcare more affordable for the masses in India and drive sustainable growth in the industry.