India as a QUAD led Biomanufacturing Hub

India as a QUAD led Biomanufacturing Hub

News: In March 2021, the Quad set up a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group to facilitate cooperation, monitor trends, and scout for opportunities related to developments in critical and emerging technologies that included biotechnology.

What is Biomanufacturing?
 Biomanufacturing uses living systems, particularly microorganisms and cell cultures, to produce molecules and materials on a commercial scale.
 It has the potential to transform the global industrial system, with up to 60% of physical inputs to the global economy expected to be producible using this technology.

The QUAD Bio-manufacturing hub and India:
 India’s National Biotechnology Development Strategy envisions the country as a “Global Biomanufacturing Hub” by 2025. It sets a target of $100 billion for the hub.
 Quad should establish a biomanufacturing hub in India to benefit from the country’s economic potential and address supply-chain vulnerabilities.
 Quad nations have complementary strengths that can be leveraged to create this hub. On one hand The U.S. has significant funding capability, while all three (Japan, Australia and the U.S.) also possess advanced biotechnology innovation ecosystems and intellectual property.
 India has skilled manpower and the potential to provide affordable scale.
 India is the ideal choice to host the biomanufacturing hub because of existing infrastructure, pharmaceutical manufacturing expertise, and the available workforce.
 India is among the top performers in the field of bio-manufacturing in both the quality of research output and in the share among research publications.
 Low-cost bio-manufacturing - India also has significant potential in low-cost bio-manufacturing.

Why should we act fast?
 India should act quickly as China has also expressed its intention to capture this market, similar to how it dominated small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
 Concerns about China’s dominance in APIs pushed India to launch a production-linked incentive scheme that allocated $2 billion to the pharmaceutical sector to make biopharmaceuticals, APIs, key starting materials, and related products.
 Dependence in the bio-manufacturing sector will be detrimental to both India and the Quad. The proposed hub can help facilitate technology transfer, connect investors, and establish a bio-manufacturing fund.

Way Forward:
 To scale up the biomanufacturing sector, India needs to uplift its workforce quality. Permanent training facilities can be established in universities around the Quad hub, with experts from other Quad countries providing the training. India can become a leading player in the field of biomanufacturing and help the Quad to compete in this key area.
Source – The Hindu 

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