19 Nov 2008

Biotech R&D to get fillip with RS 350cr package

The department of biotechnology's latest initiative — the Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP) — could provide a fillip for research, more so in light of industry facing a credit squeeze following the global financial crisis.

The Rs 350-crore package will underwrite the risk of research and development of innovate molecules and processes. It will be open to all innovative biotech companies, who are looking to do research in agriculture, health, bioenergy and green manufacturing. The industry has welcomed the move, with participants at the BioInvest 2008 forum lauding it as a positive step by the government.

“The government broke the mindset of taking risks when it approved process patents. It is now up to them to try and fix the system and encourage people to take risks in research. The idea is to encourage and reward people who do innovative research,” said Shrikumar Suryanarayan, director general of the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (ABLE).

The BPII report states that 100% grant-in-aid support would be provided for phase-I, II and III clinical trials of biotechnology-based research efforts and for limited and large-scale field trials in the case of agriculture products provided there is Indian innovation involved in technology development.

The grant would not include any capital investment. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as defined by the Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI) would be preferred recipients of support. “With the current liquidity crisis, the government has to step in and support research. Otherwise there will be no research and five years down the line there will be a dearth of drugs,” said an industry member said.


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