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Rabo India, foreign firms ink pact news
Praveen Chandran
28 December 2001
Mumbai: Rabo India Finance has signed strategic agreements with the Germany-based DG Corporate Finance, Rabo Securities, Amsterdam, and Stanford University, US, for identifying and increasing collaborations in the Indian biotechnology sector.

As per the agreement reached between the parties, these foreign organisations will help Rabo to discover strategic partners for the Indian pharma as well as agro companies and to transfer technology from foreign academia to the Indian biotech industry.

Rabo India associate director (strategic advisory, M&A) Alok Gupta says Nelson Teng, the chief gynecologist in the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Stanford University, will work with Rabo India to identify and increase collaborations in the US biotechnology sector for Indian biotech companies.

Says he: "The Indian biotech industry is certainly on the upswing, but it still lacks many critical factors. In the West there is a regular transfer of technology from academia to the industry, but in India this is yet to happen."

He says availability of financing (especially from domestic venture capitalists), issues related to the intellectual property and the herd-mentality of investors are some of the problems that the fledgling Indian biotech industry face in a big way.

Gupta, however, says India has a large market and an opportunity for biotech products and business in the areas of biogenerics, biopharmaceuticals, agricultural, food and nutrition sectors - not just domestically but also internationally. "The country needs to invest resources in the academic and industrial biotech sectors - both in research and development and infrastructure."

India's biotech industry is relatively small as compared to the pharma industry, which is estimated at $4 billion and has about 20,000 small and large drug manufactures. Sales from all types of biotech products in 1999 in India were estimated to be in the range of $1 billion.

Some time back, the Maharashtra government had mandated Rabo Bank to outline a vision and strategy for its biotech park. In the next phase, Rabo will look at involving participation of private players in the project. It intends to identify a developer to take the project to the next stage.

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Rabo India, foreign firms ink pact