Cabinet clears Rs1,500-cr biopharma mission

The union cabinet has approved the setting up of an industry-academia collaborative mission that would empower biotech entrepreneurs for accelerating discovery research to early development for biopharmaceuticals.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday gave its approval for `Innovate in India (13) empowering biotech entrepreneurs and accelerating inclusive innovation.'

Total project will cost the government Rs1,500 crore over a five-year period. Fifty per cent of the cost for the mission programmes will be arranged through World Bank loans.

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector undertaking of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), will implement the mission.

The mission, a pan-India programme, will focus on preparing India's technological and product development capabilities in the biopharmaceutical sector to a level that it is globally competitive over the next 10-15 years, which in turn would help transform the health standards of India's population through affordable product development.

A programme management unit will be set up at BIRAC which will work as an operational and functional arm that oversees and monitors programme implementation and progress.

The mission will focus on development of specific products like vaccines, biotherapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics besides establishing shared infrastructure and facilities, building and strengthening domain specific knowledge and management skills and creating and enhancing technology transfer capabilities in public and private sector.

The mission will provide a holistic and integrated approach to strengthen and support the entire product development value chain for accelerating the research leads to product development. This will help not only in immediate product development addressing public health needs, but will also help to create an ecosystem which will facilitate development of a continuous pipeline of products, says an official release.

The National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020 announced by the DBT emphasises making India ready to meet the challenge of achieving $100 billion biotech industry by 2025.

The focus is on generation of biotech products, processes and technologies for affordable and accessible health care, promoting innovation R&D, establishing India as world class biomanufacturing hub, and building the required skilled workforce.

To achieve this, it is important to promote industry-academia interface and enable the start-ups and small and medium enterprises to build translational innovation research capacities for affordable healthcare product development, a government statement said.