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‘IP protection, access to capital key to India’s biotech wave’

GANDHINAGAR, Jan 11:  Intellectual property protection and access to capital are two challenges facing a new wave of biotech innovation and investment in India, according to James Greenwood, President and CEO of Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing biotech companies.
“Here in India, I see two critical challenges that, if addressed, could usher in a new wave of biotech innovation and investment. The first is intellectual property protection, and the second is access to capital,” Greenwood said, speaking at a seminar on biotechnology organised at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit here.
“Biomedical innovation cannot be sustained without a government committed to protecting your work product…No one will invest hundreds of millions of dollars to research new biologics unless government protects the underlying IP,” he said, while praising the present Narendra Modi government for taking steps in this direction.
“The decision not to pursue compulsory licensing and the Prime Minister’s leadership in setting up an IP task force with the US Trade Representative are encouraging steps,” Greenwood said, adding that a lot more still requires to be done to allow patenting of new products and enforce companies’ IP rights.
He said, the government “strenuously protecting” IP rights will help new companies attract capital to continue their work.
“Laws like India’s Section 3(d) deny patents for modern, improved medicines. If your government joins the global community on IP rights, your industry will see a tidal wave of biotech investment and expansion right here in Gujarat,” he said.
He also called for a need to create an “attractive environment” for biotechnology investment in the country. “The Indian government must create a more attractive climate for biotechnology investment, so innovators can access the capital they need to research and commercialise their products,” Greenwood said.
Greenwood praised the Gujarat government for coming up with a biotech venture fund, the only State in the country to do so, and taking steps to promote biotech incubators.
He, however, was quick to add, “There is only so much Gujarat, or any State government, can do to attract biotech investment in a country with loose IP laws and strict price controls on many biotech products.”  (PTI)

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