Small and medium enterprises
Even as the academia and industries worldwide are actively involved in finding a solution to the growing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection in terms of new screening/diagnostic tests, vaccines and therapeutic options, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will soon begin research on HPV prevention and control. The DBT’s initiative in this regard is significant as HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer in the world. India bears 30 per cent of the burden of cervical cancer worldwide. The lack of awareness in rural areas and the lifestyle of women in urban areas worsen the situation of cervical cancer in the country. Low-cost, e?ective solutions are required for the prevention and treatment of HPV infections.
The DBT will conduct this research programme under its Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP). The DBT has invited proposals from eligible biotech companies to conduct research on HPV prevention and control.
Some of the indicative priority areas for submitting proposals include simple, sensitive, accurate and affordable screening tests (standard self-screening methods that are independent of individual interpretation); simple, sensitive, specific and acceptable diagnostic tests (cost effective and applicable to low resource settings); vaccines covering additional number of HPV types; process optimization for cost effective vaccine production; development of vaccines with specified duration of protection; and development of new therapeutic options including products of natural origin.
A single or consortia of Indian companies small, medium or large having in-house R&D units, alone or in collaboration with a partner from another company, institute or organisation are eligible to participate in the research programme. The main industry applicant should have DSIR recognised in-house R&D unit; alternatively, the applicant should be incubated at an incubation centre/biotech park which has a valid SIRO/DSIR certificate.
The last date for submission of proposals under this regular call is July 31, 2014. BIPP is a government partnership programme with industry for support on a cost sharing basis targeted at development of novel and high risk futuristic technologies mainly for viability gap funding and enhancing existing R&D capacities of start-ups and SMEs in key areas of national importance and public good.
DBT is operating this scheme through BIRAC, a not-for-profit public sector undertaking set up by DBT to promote and nurture innovation research in biotech enterprises specially start-ups and SMEs. Major thrust of the programme is towards funding technologies which address a major national problem and/or involves high level of innovation.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under its advanced technology scheme, Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP), has invited fresh proposals from biotech companies for providing support on a cost sharing basis targeted at development of novel and high risk futuristic technologies mainly for viability gap funding and enhancing existing R&D capacities of start-ups and SMEs in key areas of national importance and public good.
DBT is operating this scheme through Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Programme (BIRAP), a not-for-profit public sector undertaking set up by DBT to promote and nurture innovation research in biotech enterprises specially start-ups and SMEs. Major thrust of the programme is towards funding technologies which address a major national problem and/or involves high level of innovation. The proposals spanning across the spectrum of pre-proof-of-concept to validation of established technologies are considered for support in the form of grant and loan.
The scheme supports large, medium, small scale companies as well as start-up on cost sharing basis. It would push for high risk, discovery linked innovation and accelerated technology development. Varying models of grants, loans or grant plus loans will be made available under the scheme. It will be one of the most enabling mechanisms to promote R&D in biotech industry and public private partnership programmes.
The programme will also focus on the evaluation and validation of biotech products and indigenous discovery, innovation and technology to products with focus on the products of national relevance or public benefit. BIPP is an advanced technology initiative by the DBT for supporting innovative and challenging R&D in industry.
Under the scheme, support will also be available for setting up of infrastructure and facility. In cases where such a facility leads to R&D capacity building or is required for scale up of an innovative product/process of national importance developed through company’s in-house R&D, facility proposed could be in the area of agriculture, healthcare, biosimilars, industrial processes, energy, bioinformatics, genomics and other relevant areas in biotechnology.
A single or consortia of Indian companies–small, medium or large– having DSIR recognized in-house R&D units, alone or in collaboration with a partner from another company/university/ institute/organization can be part of the programme. The interested biotech companies can apply for the proposal till March 31 this year.
With a view to fetch larger fortunes for small and medium scale pharma enterprises, including bulk drug manufacturing units, through exports, the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA) will present new proposals in the Pharma Vision-2014 to be submitted to the government next month. Plans to avail technology upgradation fund scheme for SMEs are the most significant suggestions, according to S V Veeramani, president, IDMA.
While delivering a lecture on “Current Trends in Indian Pharmaceutical Industry”, organised by TN IPA, Veeramani pointed out that the ongoing technology upgradation scheme was not adequate and it has to be increased and updated in all the areas. If updated technology and skilled workers are employed, these units can enter into contract manufacturing business with big players and thereby to increase exports.
He said drugs worth US$ 40 billion in USA and US$ 25 billion in Europe will be going out of patent shortly. Out of this, India is likely to take up 30 per cent of the market valuing around US$ 19. 5 billion. Further, chances are there in US market as Obama Care in the USA is going to increase the demand for generics shortly. So, the chances of SME sector are tremendous to earn more through exports provided complying with market regulations.
“We have more than 7000 SME units which are all engaged in contract manufacturing business. The process of technology upgradation is going on, but more of it is required. For obtaining contract manufacturing from national and multi-national companies, these units have to intensify the GMP training. IDMA has requested the government for financial support to help these units,” he said.
Although India manufactures around 500 APIs, it depends on China for around 50 per cent of its requirements for bulk drugs. India’s bulk industry is growing at a rate of 17 per cent and it is hoped that India would replace Italy as second largest producer in the world. Government has also plans to push up the API industry. Now, IDMA is asking for capital subsidy, power subsidy, fund for cluster development and common effluent treatment plant (ETP) for the development of SME sector in order to compete with China.
“Compared to world pharma companies, India is spending very low on R&D because of lack of resources and margins. Recently big Indian companies have started spending more than 10 per cent of their sales on R&D, mainly on new drug delivery systems. More spending on research and development, increased GMP training and upgradation of technology are required for the survival of small scale pharma units in our country. For this, the IDMA will seek the support of the government,” he added.
IPA Tamil Nadu unit president, MM Yusuf presided over the meeting, secretary J Jayaseelan presented the report and welcomed the audience.
Indian pharma sector is expected to witness a major consolidation within the industry, especially in the API sector to meet the growing market demand and challenges globally, according to Singhi Advisors, a Mumbai based global investment banking firm. Understanding the changing dynamics of the Indian pharma industry, the company expressed keen interest in providing their expertise and services in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and capital raising initiatives to those interested in expanding their business worldwide.
Interestingly, to get better exposure in the local market, multi-nationals and larger domestic players are understood to be scouting for collaborative initiative with mid market players. Simultaneously, various mid size companies are looking at the possibility of joint ventures and M&As to enhance their chance at getting global acceptance by associating with well established players. Singhi Advisors an expert in this field will be dolling out their expertise in this area by identifying companies with growth potential but low financial and investment backing.
Mahesh Singhi, managing director of Singhi Advisors pointed out this will be a win-win situation for all especially the small and mid market cos as they will be able to get easy access to the required capital, organisational capability and exposure to advanced technologies and processes needed to upgrade their existing capacity, while opening up a great market opportunity both domestically and globally for all the parties. Singhi stressed, “Our focus will be on filling out the gaps prevalent in this area by inward integration of pharma sector by providing wider platform to our clients. This we plan to do by identifying their bottlenecks so that we can help them with proper advice by finding key partners to explore further business proposition for expanding and scaling up their business further.”
Experts inform that low entry barriers in the market have led to rapid growth of unorganised sector in the county resulting in inefficiency and duplicability of the process. Industry insiders feel that such collaborative efforts will help nullifying competition from the local market as small and mid size companies with potential can work out a proposition to either enter into a JV or merge with bigger players, which will be mutually beneficial for all.
Gopal Agrawal, partner, Singhi Advisors informs that their focus will be on identifying such companies who have high potential but lack the technological knowhow to make it into the global market, while at the same time have a very strong base in the local market. “There is a changing trend in the pharma sector, wherein various large and median companies are increasingly coming into focus due to their strong presence in the local or domestic market. This is a great sign as India has lot of mid market or even large companies with high potential who get side tracked due to lack of technological capabilities. With correct knowledge and proper valuation, we can sure integrate the best of both, to boost their business interest in a growing market,” Agrawal stressed.
Singhi Advisors have recently advised two Indian Companies viz Span Diagnostic and Sunways India in identifying strategic investors namely ARKRAY Inc. and Rohto Pharmaceuticals Inc. respectively. Both the strategic investors are from Japan which again is the key focus country with Singhi where they have done five transactions over last one year, being highest by any Advisory firm in India.
The company also plans to focus on applying this strategy in the medical device and biotech sector, as most of the key players in the domestic market especially in the medical device sector belong to the SMEs with a few global giants dominating the market.
Source : PharmaBiz