Biotech sector set to grow by leaps and bounds, says Biocon chief

India's biotechnology sector is set to become a $10 billion (Rs45,760 crore) industry by 2015, according to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Biocon Ltd.

Speaking in Bangalore on Tuesday at a function to announce the 10th version of Bangalore Bio – now rechristened as Bangalore India Bio – she said that she expects the industry to grow to $5 billion by next year, compared to $2.51 billion in 2008-09. The biotechnology expo will be held from 2-4 June.

''India is today becoming the vaccine capital of the world. Bio-manufacturing offers huge potential, and already there are indications that many global contract manufacturers will be shifting their base from Europe to Asia. ''I think India will be one of the beneficiaries of that particular strategy,'' Mazumdar-Shaw said. 

Clinical trials, agro-biotech and bio-fuels are also becoming big opportunities for India. ''There are lot of growth drivers and trigger points which we think will deliver in the next five years,'' she said.

Speaking alongside the Biocon Ltd chief, Ashok Kumar C Manoli, principal secretary to the union government's department of information technology and biotechnology, said over 150 companies from India and abroad are expected to participate in the event. 

But the sector may hit hurdles like lack of human resources, as the industry finds it difficult to get suitable graduates. Hence, Karnataka has decided to select 10 institutions with the necessary infrastructure which will be helped to set up finishing schools with focus on specialised skill development. A sum of Rs10 crore has been allocated to support the finishing schools.

The expo is being jointly organised by Manoli's department and Karnataka's sate department of IT, bio-technology and science and technology, among others.