Biotechnology Industry in Kerala: A view from the Trenches


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Biotechnology industry in Kerala, as seen by a young biotech startup

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Biotechnology Industry in Kerala: A view from the Trenches

  1. 1. <ul><li>A View From the Trenches </li></ul><ul><li>Biotechnology industry in Kerala, as seen by a young biotech startup </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>ubio Biotechnology Systems Pvt. Ltd. Is a start-up biotechnology venture that focuses on Development and manufacture of low-cost diagnostic Kits for clinical diagnosis </li></ul><ul><li>Started in 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Target Markets: human , veterinary and industrial diagnostics </li></ul><ul><li>Research Focus on Biochip diagnostics for cancer , TB and tropical diseases. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently manufacturers 57 diagnostic products </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Triad of Industrialisation Regulations Education Market Industry
  4. 4. <ul><li>Is there a market for biotech products in Kerala? </li></ul><ul><li>What are our needs that can be addressed by biotechnology? </li></ul><ul><li>Waste disposal, low-cost healthcare, vector control, agricultural productivity, food preservation and processing, what else? </li></ul><ul><li>We need better studies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local need identification and market sizing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment of economic value of social benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scope of government participation and incentive creation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Self-sufficient healthcare – the Cuba example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chikungunya, Dengue, Filaria, TB, Endosulfan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who should be interested? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why cant we develop diagnostics, vaccines, medicines and equipments? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Biotech Market in Kerala </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>National and international markets </li></ul><ul><li>Diagnostics and medicines for tropical diseases </li></ul><ul><li>Low-cost instrumentation and medical software </li></ul><ul><li>Contract Research </li></ul><ul><li>Plant molecules – how to commercialize our biodiversity? </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation, processing and value addition of food products </li></ul><ul><li>The Biotech Market for Kerala </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Quality of our biotechnology graduates is apalling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only general theoretical knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No practical exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of well-equipped training labs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High cost of consumables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best students do not come to biotech </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Industry training and participation essential </li></ul><ul><li>Government should promote industry-education partnership through incentivised apprenticeship programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Kerala has the potential to become a biotechnology training hub like Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Biotech Education </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>The cutting edges are now at intersections! </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation needs inter-disciplinary thought and focus </li></ul><ul><li>Promote ad-hoc education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it possible for individuals to subscribe to specific courses (say, just take immunology classes instead of an entire biotech course) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relax pre-qualification requirements (say, any engineer should be able to take a biotech degree after taking a few preparatory classes). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relax age bars in education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Biotech Education </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Good Product Research is non-existant </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of accountability in research is a big problem </li></ul><ul><li>Project audits required </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What was spent? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why was it spent? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the outcome? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance rating based on cost-effectiveness of project outcome </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Result audits required </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What happened to the product/technology that was developed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was it commercialized? If not, why? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Biotech Research </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Promote industry-academy collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allocate separate grant budgets for basic research and product development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide product development grants only to collaborative projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep industry contribution low, but make it mandatory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kerala Biotechnology Commission’s new scheme is a good example </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The start-up challenge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of access to expensive equipments, especially for infrequent use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of expertise in specific areas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Biotech Research </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Promote independent innovators and interdisciplinary teams </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create industry incubators in research institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentivise incubation and product creation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open up resources in research institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Audit use, availability and status of expensive instrumentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create mandatory industry service cells </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide access to expensive equipment at affordable rates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create incentives to promote academic support given to industry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Biotech Research </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Proliferation and internetworking of start-ups create innovation spirals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples: Japanese auto industry, US/German electronics boom post-WW2, Silicon Valley </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cost of supporting startups is lower than the cost of attracting huge capital </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge based startups create high-value employment </li></ul><ul><li>Start-ups lay foundations for entire industries </li></ul><ul><li>Why promote start-ups? </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>To start-up or not? The dilemma of a well-paid technologist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce start-up barriers, provide support systems, advertise and promote the start-up attitude </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Compensate for lack of ecosystem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most inputs have to be imported or transported from other states, leading to increased costs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide tax holidays to biotech startups – follow the IT example </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Facilitate easier financing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We need a working venture capital fund, preferably with government participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a vehicle for easier loan disbursement for priority area startups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it easier for banks to provide loans – technical evaluation of most banks cannot keep up with technological innovations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide easy access to facilities and instrumentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology parks, common equipment facilities, access to facilities in research institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What biotech start-ups need </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>ubio Biotechnology Systems Pvt Ltd Kinfra Hi-tech Park, Kalamassery, Cochin