DNA reports from Bangalore India Bio-2010 that investors made a strong plea for academia and industry to collaborate better on research that would support India receiving more clinical trial work. India enjoys a 50-75% cost advantage in servicing clinical trials with high quality. Investors are eyeing the $26 B potential market and want to gain significant share.
Right now, India has too few clinical investigators (< 1000) as compared to a country like USA with more tha 50x that number. Attendees at Bio 2010 would like to see that number jump to 10,000 or more in India in the next 5 years.
Conference attendees called for the government, private sector and India's 221 colleges to develop research training programs in colleges and hospitals -- and to encourage students to pursue research careers.
The biggest problem seems to be lack of a coherent government funding intitiative to support research development, and a lack of collaboration between industry and academia. India, like many emergent countries, lacks a VC infrastructure too. This makes it difficult to access the capital needed to fund significant research and development programs.
In the meantime, India offers the cost advantages to make performing clinical studies there attractive but still needs to work on the funding, training and infrastructure. There are pockets of success however with institutions like the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology supplying 75% of its graduates to companies like Biocon, Brickwood, IBM - but it too is hampered by government funding schemes.
With these challenges, it will be some time before India is able to realize its full potential -- and while its developing its infrastructure and funding mechanisms -- other emerging competitors in places like China and Brazil will also be competing for the $26 B purse.
Posted by Bruce Lehr June 4th 2010.