Indian budget sets out country's biotechology drive

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

India's Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley presented the budget Thursday
India's Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley presented the budget Thursday

Related tags: Biology, Biotechnology

India is looking to stimulate investment in biotechnology through bioclusters and development of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB).

In a speech coinciding with the recently agreed national budget, Government finance minister Arun Jaitley laid out plans to stimulate investment in biotechnology using dedicated industrial bioclusters.

“The development of biotech clusters in Faridabad and Bengaluru will be scaled up and taken to the highest international quality,”​ the Minister said, with an effort that will include “global partnerships in accessing model- organism resources for disease biology, stem cell biology and for high-end electron microscopy.”

Jaitley added the Government was looking to transform the Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) – a centre of excellence for research and training in molecular biology set up by the United Nations for developing countries and transition economies – “into a world-leader in life sciences and biotechnology.”

Training focus

The ICGEB offers practical and theoretical training covering basic and applied scientific processes, as well as working in collaboration with industry in a number of research programmes, according to Decio Ripandelli, a spokesman from the ICGEB’s headquarters in Trieste, Italy.

Such recognition of the ICGEB in India’s budget speech was a boon to the organisation, he told Biopharma-Reporter.com.

He added that the news corresponded with plans laid out by Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the Indian Government, Krishnaswamy Vijayaraghavan, to boost advanced research in both the biomedical and plant biotechnology at the New Delhi branch involving the establishment of an incubator for the development and transfer of technologies

He added the New Delhi division is currently focused on developing drugs against malaria in a joint research venture with Sanofi subsidiary, Genzyme, whilst other research projects are looking into developing vaccines against tuberculosis and Dengue fever.

Furthermore, whilst the centre is generally R&D rather than manufacturing focused, a number of process development projects for biosimilar production are underway to assist local drugmakers, Ripandelli said.

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