INDIAN PLANS EXPANSION OF BIOTECH INDUSTRY
India is planning to create 10 new biotech parks by 2010 primarily through public-private schemes, according to the Department of Biotechnology. The country already has large-scale biotechnology facilities in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune. Although India has yet to develop a novel biotech drug, the government forecasts that the sector has the potential to generate US$5bn in revenue by 2010 and create one million jobs.
To help foster growth, the government has launched a National Biotechnology Development Policy. One priority is increasing the number of PhD programmes in the life sciences in order to create a larger pool of skilled scientists. The Indian government need look no further than Singapore, where the government has invested US$2bn attracting promising scientific talent to the country, and one-third of PhD students undertaking research are foreigners.
Many industry observers have also called for greater tax incentives for biotech,
which is an intensely research-based industry. As a result, Indian companies
often invest up to 20-30% of their operating costs on R&D. Government support,
especially for small and medium-sized companies in the early stages of product
development, will be the key to sustaining sector development. UK-based biotech
companies can receive tax credits representing 40-50% of R&D costs.