India parliament passes bill backing regional biotech institute


India's lower house of parliament passed a bill this week to back a regional biotech center aimed at promoting expertise and research in South Asia and wider in the Asian region, the Business Standard newspaper reports.

The Regional Centre for Biotechnology--to be located in the northern state of Haryana--would offer degrees up to the doctorate level, while also serving as a home to academics with access to research facilities in biotechnology, the newspaper said. Funding and other details were not available.

India has lagged in comparison to other Asian nations such as Japan, China and Australia in growing a local biotech industry--although established drug companies such as Dr. Reddy's Laboratories are making a push into biosimilar and licensed drugs, while smaller firms in the space are also on the research scene.

In November of last year, the government said it wanted to add 1,500 startups in the next 2 to 3 years in biotechnology--up from around 500 at the end of 2015. Currently, India's biotech industry is around 2% of the global biotech sector and ranked 12th in the world and third in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a recent report.

The new center would seek to aid growth domestically in biotech as well as establish links abroad by offering course work training and research in biotechnology to students and researchers.

- here's the story from Business Standard