Major scientific breakthrough will tilt the scale in India’s favour – Bangalore India Bio 2013

downloadPublish biotech innovations, however small they may be and reach out globally

Bangalore – Monday 04th February 2013: On day 1 of the 3-days Bangalore  India Bio 2013 (BIB 2013) – India’s premier Biotech Show organised by the department of Information Technology, Bio-Technology and Science& Technology, Government of Karnataka and the Vision Group on Biotechnology, featured a DISTINGUISHED LECTURE chaired by Prof. H. Sharat Chandra – Director, Centre for Human Genetics, Emeritus Professor, Indian Institute of Science and the Speaker was Dr. Karen Bernstein – Co-Founder & Chairman, Bio Century, USA.

Prof. H. Sharat Chandra, began Saying “ this is a remarkable event getting together all the people from the industry under one roof. We have a very distinguished person to share her knowledge with all of us. He called upon Dr. Karen Bernstein to deliver her lecture.”

Dr. Karen Bernstein, speaking on how India can leverage in the biotech industry & the challenges for India in this sector?” She began by saying, “its a huge task to explain on the subject. Nevertheless, I’d like to explain that in two parts. We live in interesting times. These days more and more drugs are being produced but more drugs mean higher hurdles for this reason reductionism has hurt the R&D endeavour. We are having palaeolithic minds but living in modern bodies. Although there are funds available for the biotech industries but looking for profit straight away. Sometimes they overlook the point of delivering effective healthcare to patients at reasonable prices. And there are major gaps in basic sciences that are the key to enabling innovations in novel therapeutics. Improving productivity through collaboration is needed. The key to success lies in focusing and addressing specific areas of science. India has the best opportunity in biotechnology if they follow important factors like – Pre-competitiveness where pooling of resources is necessary to understand diseases and this is only possible by corporate-academic deals by businessmen. Last year there were about 628 such deals but due to utter failures half of the deals were publicly disclosed. The main reason behind such failures is the fact that the businessmen just threw money to the academics hoping for something new but never followed up! On the other hand, some of the successful deals were – Asian genomic project, Transcelerate Competitive (development of biopharma in clinical research) where-in companies from the biggest ones to the smallest one are trimming pipelines. Lots of mega mergers have failed and created zero value. All these can only develop by Diversifying non-core businesses, Patent cliff, Where M&A is not value-creating.

Some of the successful companies and their products are GSK-Pfizer for HIV, Lilly-Boehringer for Diabetes and Merck KGAA-Sanofi for cancer.”

I have never seen companies voluntarily compare drugs but if they actually do, then there would more combination trials and biomerging can happen by mixing of different drugs. Regulatory means enabling more and more cost efficient clinical developments, shifting the risk benefit line. The shifts in attitude could lead to opened doors to industrialization of clinical developments, broadening use of accelerated approval (PDUFA V), the generating antibiotics incentives now (gain) act & creating expedited development pathway for drugs for very narrowly defined diseases. Payer where reimbursement hurdles are the main problems but helps in growing biopharma. Involvement with doctors and patients and growing number of web based resources that patients can use to discover and assess available treatment.” she said.

US $509 billion is the estimated amount to be spent in 2012 to 2015 for the biotech industry from corporate ventures not including the government. She added.

Further, she said, “In India the problem is about misalignment of timeline, where most companies are projects rather than companies. The solution for this is differentiating single project companies from therapeutic platform companies and a novel corporate structure.”

In the future of biotech industry R&D must be globalised in multiplied tracks, more presumptive collaborations should take place, system will be driven by payers, no naïve capital would be there & the need to adopt to world austerity.”

Speaking on Indian innovation from an outside perspective. She said, “First and foremost is analysing data, which is quite challenging. For the past few years there has been no breakthroughs in science in India. Everyone keeps speaking about Indo-China relations, I too need to mention it here.” According to Nature, in a survey of biotech innovations US Ranked 1, Denmark ranked 2 & Singapore ranked 3 whereas china and India were ranked 43 and 47 respectively. Last year among the 28 recipients of the scientist awards, China had 7 awards whereas India had 1. Among the top 25 globally renowned R&D companies there is as such No Indian company. But recently, Biocon’s anti cd-6 is of great significance. There’s an urgent need to get the messages out and published. If you don’t get your messages out nobody will know.”

Right now India is best known for it’s supply of generic medicine. India and china are the major exporters of generic medicine in the global market. According to MacKenzie report at the same growth rate of now i.e. 8.4 GDP, India could be second to US in the generic market.”

India fits in perfectly as a global Biotech hub provided India could increase generic medicine for both internal & other emerging markets, High level of differentiation, chart a clear path to early exit, bring-in Capital efficiency especially in venture level, develop professional, nimble & entrepreneurial management of companies.” she concluded.

For more information on Bangalore INDIA BIO 2013,visit