India’s biotechnology sector is set for a booster dose to expand work in drug discovery, vaccines and anti-microbial resistance. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is in the midst of finalising several programs and global partnerships to give a thrust to these areas, according to secretary K VijayRaghavan.
DBT is looking to invest close to Rs 1000 crore in a programme to expand the existing centres for drug discovery and vaccine research in the country. The department will take up the possibility of investing “a few thousand crores” over the next few years with the finance ministry and hopes the proposal will be approved, he said.
“We’re going to see a multiple hub model where there will be many more top quality centres in India for drug discovery and vaccines,” VijayRaghavan told ET on the sidelines of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum India-Japan workshop held on June 6. “We want to expand this so that bringing to bear genomics into (these areas) is a big thrust,” he said.
The programme is expected to be announced this financial year around August or early September, according to VijayRaghavan.
In addition to national investment programmes, DBT is in the process of finalising international collaboration in vaccines and to combat the country’s growing problem of anti-microbial resistance, he said. “We are likely to see big announcements over the next few months.”
DBT invested close to Rs 6.7 crore ($1,00,000) as seed funding in India-focussed biotech startups and to tackle the issue of anti-microbial resistance earlier this year.