Incubation centres are now hotbeds for not only start-ups but also bigger companies, ET HealthWorld

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By Prarthana Sharma &
Prabhat Prakash

Mumbai: India, long recognised as a leader in traditional pharmaceuticals, including vaccines and biologicals, now stands at the precipice of a new era, one defined by innovation and biotechnological advancements. However, this transition is not without its challenges, Dr Jitendra Kumar, Managing Director, BIRAC, pointed out. The journey from chemistry-based pharmaceuticals to biopharma represents a paradigm shift that demands careful navigation and proactive initiatives.

The fourth edition of the RE-Pharma Summit, themed ‘Reinvent, Restructure, and Reform’, featured an insightful guest of honour address by Dr Kumar. He talked about the importance of promoting innovation in the biopharma sector through start-ups and academic-industry collaborations.

Initiating the address, Dr Kumar emphasised, “The challenges faced by start-ups include significant time and money needed because of high entry barriers like expensive infrastructure and equipment.”

To lower healthcare expenses, Dr Kumar elaborated on the importance of indigenisation and domestic technology development in India. He noted the possibility of cooperation with technology-focused enterprises to further the industry’s growth and welcomed them.

While speaking about the biopharmaceutical business, there was an overwhelming plea for cooperation. The main goal was to close the crucial gap that exists between biopharma start-ups and well-established industry heavyweights. The possibility for synergy, where start-up technology development might be easily incorporated into larger industry frameworks, was highlighted.

Dr Kumar highlighted that many public funded research programmes don’t see the light of day, even with large government expenditures in research and development (R&D).

Dr Kumar mentioned that the time-intensive nature of deep science tech businesses, high entrance barriers, and significant infrastructure requirements were recognised as roadblocks.

The specifics that enabled communication between start-ups and bigger biopharma businesses came up frequently in his address. Dr Kumar highlighted that incubation centres are now hotbeds for not only start-ups but also bigger companies. The proposed platform would function as an area for entrepreneurs to exhibit their technological advancements, creating opportunities for partnerships with major players in the industry. The symbiotic approach that was suggested gives established businesses access to cutting-edge technologies while also providing financial support for start-ups.

Dr Kumar drew attention to how the government encourages innovation in new businesses without asking for shares or royalties. Furthermore, he also pushed for improved industry incumbent-start-up cooperation, pointing to corporate venture funds and innovation laboratories as examples of effective partnership structures. Through the creation of forums for discussion and financial systems that reward cooperation, interested parties can pool their resources and knowledge to further innovation.

Concluding on a positive note by highlighting the unrealised potential of partnerships between industry heavyweights and entrepreneurs. Initiating a call to action: companies with cutting-edge technologies ought to actively pursue partnerships, and major players in the market ought to welcome these prospective game-changers. As the biopharmaceutical sector transitions to an innovation-driven future, closing the gap between new and established firms is critical to long-term prosperity.

  • Published On Jan 31, 2024 at 06:35 PM IST

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