The biopharmaceutical sector is the largest component (about 60%) of the Indian biotechnology industry.
The sector mainly comprises of biologics viz., vaccines, bio-similars, therapeutics, diagnostics, regenerative medicines and medical technology. Vaccines and bio-similars which constitute the largest component of the Indian bio-pharma segment has been creating immense opportunities in India that will take India to the next level as a hub for global biologics including their development and manufacturing.
The Indian in-vitro diagnostics market has emerged as one of the best segments in the Indian healthcare industry. Various factors such as the rising prevalence of diseases, improving affordability of patients, and increasing penetration of health insurance have contributed substantially to spur the demand for diagnostic services in India.
Regenerative medicine or stem cell research in India is emerging with around 40 organizations, public and private, involved in various aspects of research and development. Public funded institutions have been supported by DBT and CSIR. DBT, in 2009, established The Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), which is India’s first dedicated institute for research in stem cells. Private firms in India are in the early stages of producing stem cell therapies and products while mostly dealing with umbilical cord blood banking. Home grown companies, such as Reliance Life Sciences, Stempeutics and L.V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) are at the forefront in the development of stem cell products and therapies in India. Companies like LifeCell, StemCyte India therapeutics and Cryo Stem Cell are involved with the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood stem cells.
Medical technology primarily encompasses healthcare devices and imaging methods that aid clinical diagnosis, monitoring and therapy for patients. The medical technology industry in India is currently the fourth largest in Asia and comprises of varied segments like medical instruments, syringes, X-ray equipment, among many others. The Indian medical devices, diagnostics and equipment sector is growing. However, India imports 70% of all medical technology, which has a downstream affect on affordability of these technologies. Since costs are high, rural healthcare providers are unable to afford buying medical instruments.
The biopharmaceutical sector registered 19 % growth to touch $2.5 billion in revenues during 2011-12 (ABLE report 2012) of which the domestic bio-pharmaceuticals business saw a significant rise in its revenues to $1.3 billion, accounting for a 51 % share of the total revenue.
India is already being globally recognised as a manufacturer of economical, high-quality bulk drugs and formulations and the future lies in biologics, especially biosimilars and vaccine manufacturing.
Protein and antibody production and the fabrication of diagnostic protein chips are a promising area for investment. Stem cell research, cell engineering and cell-based therapeutics is another area, wherein India will cash in its expertise.