Express Pharma

India currently contributes three-to-five per cent share of the global biotechnology sector

The outsourcing market size for CDMOs in India is roughly at Rs 20,000 crores and it is expected to grow to about Rs 40,000 crores in the next four-to-five years, informs Hitesh Windlass, Managing Director, Windlas Biotech, to Akanki Sharma in an exclusive interaction

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What is the current market scenario of biotechnology sector in India?

As per the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the biotechnology sector in India amounts to $63 billion (Rs 4,60,000 crores), and is expected to reach $150 billion (Rs 10,95,000 crores) by 2025, with a CAGR of 16.4 per cent. As one of the top 12 biotechnology locations, India currently contributes three-tofive per cent share of the global biotechnology sector, which is expected to grow up to 19 per cent by 2025.

Some of the drivers of this growth would be rapidly improving clinical capabilities, pegging India as a desirable destination for clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing drugs. Increased government expenditure is estimated to further boost the biotechnology industry’s growth. The demand for healthcare services in India will continue to rise as the country’s economy grows and people become more health-conscious. The outsourcing market size for CDMOs in India is roughly at Rs 20,000 crores and it is expected to grow to about Rs 40,000 crores in the next four-to-five years. The PLI schemes offered by the government is also expected to benefit domestic manufacturers as well as the country.

Biotechnology sector is recognised as the key driver for contributing to India’s $5 trillion economy target by 2024. In what ways do you think this goal can be achieved? What role can Windlas Biotech play in this?
It is true that biotechnology sector holds the potential for providing innovative, low-cost and improved solutions for the existing gaps and challenges in sectors like health, environment, energy and industrial processes. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the acceptance of many breakthrough technologies in research as well as in manufacturing. For instance, during the global pandemic, India cemented its position as an important hub for COVID-19 vaccine R&D. At one point, there were at least half-a-dozen Indian vaccine makers in different stages of vaccine development.

Globally, the biggest push has come in the field of Nucleic acid therapeutics. Many messenger RNA, anti-sense oligonucleotides have been approved and others are in advanced stages of development. While a lot of this action is within the innovator biopharma ecosystem in the west, Indian generic companies are ushering in advances in bioinformatics, protein synthesis, isolation, characterisation and large-scale manufacturing that will ultimately be required to make these breakthrough medicines viable on commercial scale. Windlas Biotech, as a CDMO, is investing in creating fill-finish capacity for injectable products which will help marketing companies launch their brands of different products.

Additionally, the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector enterprise set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, plays a pivotal role in the development of a bio-economy in India. Through its funds, BIRAC supports all stages of product development right from proof-of-concept demonstration to product commercialisation. Entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and academic institutions can benefit from the schemes to work on research ideas that have tran