biotechnology firms are expected to strengthen their presence
in global drugs and vaccines market, perhaps on the same
scale as Indian IT firms, says a study released yestwerday
by McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health in Toronto,
the 21 Indian biotechnology companies, the report says
that India was innovating its way out of poverty and ill
health and Indian biotech companies, with their lower
manpower costs, were ideally suited to make generic versions
of branded products from "big pharma", once
their patent cover expires.
study, published in Nature Biotechnology, noted
that Indian companies were increasingly trying to develop
new drugs that could be globally competitive, a development
that the established biopharma and biotech companies could
not afford to ignore, even though the Indian firms were
yet to make landmark product discovery.
according to Sara Frew, a co-author of the study, it wasn''t
a question of if but when product breakthroughs would
start arriving from India.
the study pointed out that foreign competitors, who tried
to undercut the prices of Indian products such as Biocon''s
insulin, had discovered that Indian companies could price
their products even lower.
study noted the 1997 launch of the hepatitis B vaccine
Shanvac-B by the Varaprasad Reddy-promoted Shantha Biotechnics
Biotech makes healthcare affordable), which had
led to crashing of vaccine prices to about $0.50 per dose
from $15 for a comparable imported product.
Hyderabad-based company''s vaccine now makes up almost
40 percent of hepatitis B vaccines for the UN Children''s
Fund (UNICEF), distributed throughout the developing world.
study also identified the Serum Institute of India as
the country''s largest vaccine supplier and exporter, with
products sold in 138 countries. The Serum Institute says
it is the world''s largest producer of measles vaccines.
study also said that India had to ensure continued development
for the treatment of illnesses ranging from tuberculosis
to malaria prevalent in India, even as it sought to expand
biotech industry exports.