'BT sector lacks funds, expertise'

'BT sector lacks funds, expertise'

The biotechnology industry in India, growing at 20 per cent per annum, and expecting a revenue of $7 billion by 2015, lacks trained expertise, according to a survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

The survey — Access to Healthcare: India Perspective  — said the biotech sector with around 400 companies has seen them grow threefold in the last five years to reach US $4 billion presently.

Assocham secretary general D S Rawat said that as the biotechnology sector is benefiting from cost effectiveness and research and development, there is a dearth of manpower.

This is despite the fact that India is recognised as an ideal location for manufacturing biotech products.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon, told Deccan Herald, “There is good potential and talent in this stream, but there is need for specialists for which efforts are on to provide specialisation.Many companies have tied up with academic institutes or even started their own training institutes. Young talent is available, but there is a lack of trained experts. There are experts in the West who can either be brought here to work or train the talent here.”

Divakar Rao, member of the Vision Group on Biotechnology, said: “In my view, the biggest problem which the sector faces is inadequate funds. Human resources is not so much a problem. Products are prepared in labs, but there is shortage of funds to make them commercially available. The sector cannot depend on funding organisations for long.

Human resources is a problem, but ranks second in the list. Scientists, researchers and students do not have enough exposure which again is a challenge. There is also shortage of trained lab technicians. Regularisation of the industry and the products is another major issue. Once this happens, a lot of problems will get resolved.”