The largest bio-technology conglomerate Global Bio-India 2021 was inaugurated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan,Union Minister of Science & Technology,Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare 1st March 2021. Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs was special guest at the inaugural session. The three-day event will see different sessions touching down upon different aspects of biotechnology. The first session of the Global Bio-India addressed how India’s campaign of ‘Make in India’ has translated into “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan” to provide resilience and self-sufficiency” to the country. The session highlighted the National Priorities, examples from India’s experience in turning COVID pandemic challenges into opportunities for developing domestic innovation ecosystem gaining self-sufficiency in requirements e.g., Vaccine, Drugs, Diagnostics, Personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, ventilators, thermal scanners, Masks etc.
Dr. Deepak Bagla CEO, Invest India gave an overview of the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat for India and the World. Speaking at this occasion, he said, “India is one of the most open economies on the planet and the top green field destination of the world. The country today is the largest, youngest and fastest economy in the World”.
The event also saw a global perspective with participation of the ambassadors from Netherlands and Switzerland.
Mr. Martin van den Berg, Ambassador, Embassy of Netherlands in India, Nepal and Bhutan commented that COVID-19 showed us that the world needs more international collaborations in terms of science, technology, agriculture. India has proven to be a success story when it comes to the vaccine distribution, he said.
Dr. Ralf Heckner, Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland in India and Bhutan said “India today is big part of solutions in science and innovation sectors. India is one of the most innovative countries in the world and 2021 budget proves that, where a large amount has been allocated for R&D. We want India to know Switzerland as a highly competitive country in terms of innovation, development”.
The insights on how to create a truly AtmanirbharBioeconomy and be a part of the global financing, innovation and manufacturing ecosystem were also shared in the session.
Dr Vinod Paul, Member Health, NITI Aayog appreciated the efforts of scientific community and said that the speed with which the solutions during the pandemic appeared was phenomenal. The story of development of vaccines, are amazing examples of how time can be compressed and scientific mobilisation can be initiated. The intent to have a global footprint in the manufacturing sector when it came to COVID-19 vaccine was pathbreaking and something to be proud of. We have realized that we have the potential to deliver in a speedy manner, like we did for vaccine distribution.”
Dr. V. K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog said, “Biotechnology known sometimes as the oldest profession in the world today has grown in various ways, technologically. During the pandemic, the #startups in the #biotech sector have come out as great success stories to show to the world. The India Biotech sector, a 62 Bn Dollars sector in 2012 is expected to grow to 150 Bn by 2025”.
Mr. Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank highlighted how the Atmanirbhar Bharat is a framework to link India to the Global Value Chain.
Prof. M Vidyasagar, Chair, NBDS Formulation Group, Distinguished Prof IIT – Hyderabad highlighted the National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2021-25. Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon gave an industry perceptive of the Atmanirbhar Bharat.
In the closing remarks, Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT India said that GlobalBioIndia2021 is an opportunity to bring together the community and see how we can deliver not just locally but globally. We have to try and be self-reliant, not just for India but the World. We have to start looking inwards to see where we lack and to improve.
BIRAC’s Technical Compendium 2021 was released at #GlobalBioIndia2021 in presence of Ms. Anju Bhalla, MD, BIRAC
The third session on Day 1 of Global Bio India 2021 was on India Fights COVID-19. The COVID 19 Vaccine Journey from Science to Delivery First in class/ Biomanufacturing. This session showcased India’s contribution in the development of Covid vaccine for our country as well as for the World. Concerted efforts resulted in the release of indigenously developed Covaxinin a record time and Covishield through a strong ecosystem of biomanufacturing facilities.
Addressing the session, Dr. Shirshendu Mukherjee, Mission Director of PMU, highlighted the contribution of DBT – BIRAC for creating a vibrant ecosystem which resulted in increased number of players in the Biopharma sector both in R & D and manufacturing. There are several vaccine candidates that are in the pipeline and are at various stages of development.
Dr. Pankaj Patel – Cadila Healthcare Ltd informed that the strategy was to try two vaccine platforms during Covid 19 pandemic, DNA Vaccine platform and Measles Vaccine platform. The other crucial issue was the setting up of a huge facility to develop vaccines that are stable at 25° C for two months and are very immunogenic and safe.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO emphasized that we are at a very critical junction, as Covid-19 cases have gone up particularly in Europe and America. There are many uncertainties now, particularly of the different variants of the virus.“India has shown the capacity to be a manufacturer at the global scale and also be an innovator when it came to vaccine development. There is a huge amount of scope to study the impact of vaccines, which needs to be thought through by a very coordinated approach”, she said.
Dr. Krishna Mohan, BharatBiotechinformed that they have a whole range of vaccines of which 3 are WHO pre-qualified. He commented that the regulatory system and the Governments support is required to scale up and roll out these in 100 days time.
Key National and International efforts have been leveraged by Government of India’s efforts to boost vaccine development and manufacturing, catalyze India’s vaccine development activities.
India is in a unique position of having a portfolio of vaccine candidates of different platforms. The deliberations were focused around the same in the form of a Panel Discussion with other COVID 19 vaccine candidates supporting the ecosystem.