welcome initiative to boost technology and product innovation,” said PM Murali, president of Association of Biotech-Led Enterprises (ABLE). “We welcome the focus on strengthening of institutions as Technical Research Centres as this will strengthen the skill gaps and boost productivity.”
“The development of biotech clusters in Faridabad and Bengaluru will be scaled up and taken to the highest international quality. This effort will include global partnerships in accessing model-organism resources for disease biology, stem cell biology and for high-end electron microscopy,” Jaitely said in his budget speech. He added that secondary agriculture will be a major thrust in the nascent agri-biotech cluster in Mohali, which would be scaled up to include plant-genetic and phenotype platforms.
“World-over, the growth of the biotechnology sector is usually through clusters and I think that is a sound strategy,” said
Vijay Chandru, chairman and CEO of Strand Life Sciences, adding that government has addressed at least two of the 20 pre-budget requests made by the industry. The sector has been saying that key issues such as regulation, gaps in technology transfer, higher education and taxation needed to be addressed in order to fuel growth.
The announcement to develop global partnerships at the Delhi component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) was also a welcome move, he said. “The creation of biotechnology clusters will further spur research and development in cutting edge technology,” said Gyanendra Shukla, India Region Lead at Monsanto.
The Indian biotechnology sector, which is growing at an annual compounded rate of 20-22%, is largely concentrated in Bangalore and Hyderabad and the sector includes more than 350 companies working in the areas of vaccines and biopharmaceuticals, agricultural biotechnology, industrial biotechnology, bioservices, and bioinformatics, according to a recent report by ABLE.
The angel investor community, too, is
upbeat about the signals from the Budget. “The R10,000 crore fund to be set up for MSME sector was recommended by the Indian Angel Network (IAN). The special focus on technology product startups and the R100 crore investment in startup village entrepreneurship scheme will help a great deal in boosting and nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the nation,” said Saurabh
Srivastava, co-founder, IAN.
However, Srivastava said that the organisation was disappointed that the government has not dealt with the “Angel Tax” that prevents angels from providing the first tranche of funds to innovative startups before VCs get interested. He said: “We now have a piquant