India is currently experiencing a fast-paced growth scenario in the field of modern biotechnology. If the immediate future of the country’s business and regulatory environment is favourable, experts estimate the biotech industry to reach a whopping value of $100 billion by the year 2025. To understand the magnitude: bio-pharmaceuticals (a sub-sector of the biotech field) alone which consists of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics accounted for 64% of the industry’s total revenue in 2016. No doubt they would be much higher in the present year.
Modern biotechnology traverses the confines of its particular segment. Its benefit boasts applications to other highly related industries such as healthcare, food, energy and environmental conservation.
Though the biotech sector holds immense potential for large scale transformations, a few but strong impediments lay in the way of growth. The most common and repetitive of them all comprises of bureaucratic bottlenecks that prevent new products from securing government approvals. This makes it cumbersome for biotechnological innovation from reaching the market/masses in a swift smooth manner.
While the going is already tough, politicized public oppositions, improper projection of the biotech industry in general and perception by the people makes it increasingly difficult for the industry to thrive.
Even though there is a steady increase in the rate of private investment in the sector, especially into biopharmaceuticals, bio-services and bio-agriculture, stringent government regulatory procedures may stifle growth to a great extent.
The streamlined regulatory system is the need of the moment to instil growth in the domestic biotechnology sector. Beyond this, there is also a deep need for the state to work with global policies formulated with respect to the field such that India’s global share in innovation remains unaffected.
Another great impetus to the field would be enabling and supporting commercialisation of the biotechnology industry. The absence of global norms for responsible practices is another major key point why the industry’s future may appear bleak. The state should engage in active response oriented dialogues with the world community to bring synchronicity in this regards. This becomes essential with the booming of new age technologies like big data analytics and genetic engineering.
In order to ensure sustained and safe development, government policies can spearhead activities like protection of intellectual property rights and non-proliferation of biological weapons as well. This would help alleviate any fears fathomed by people against modern biotechnology pertaining to ethical dilemmas, political conundrums, alteration of genetic materials, potentially harmful genetic mutation etc.
The legal and financial ecosystems must be robust enough to nurture innovation and growth on a large scale effect. The biotechnology industry needs a balance between strategic research, product planning and proper regulatory framework too.
As we know the modern biotechnology landscape in India is growing at an enormous rate combined with AI and quantum computing. A readiness to grasp the immense possibilities that it offers will take the healthcare, medical and biotech industry leaps ahead.