The Global Biopharmaceutical Market is estimated to be USD 330.7 Bn in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 478.08 Bn by 2026. Despite the promising growth projections, the pandemic came as a reality check for the industry, leaving the leaders pondering over ways to build an ecosystem that can cater to any such unprecedented situation in the future. With the renewed sense of purpose, the industry is betting high on technology to adopt newer and advanced ways of drug development and bringing resilience in the sector as a whole.
To discuss the changing paradigm of the industry, thought leaders from the biopharma sector came together on a series of interesting panel discussions presented by CNBC-TV18 in collaboration with Cytiva. Hosted by Archana Shukla, Associate Editor, Pharma & Healthcare and Bureau Chief, CNBC-TV18, each of the sessions had eminent industry leaders on the panel who shared insights into the disruption in the sector and how innovation and technology are at the heart of the undergoing transformation.
The first session had a gripping discussion on, ‘Building Manufacturing Resilience in Biopharma’, Dr. Sanjay Singh, CEO Gennova spoke about the challenges the pandemic brought for the entire biopharma community and how the industry is using novel platforms to solve the problem. Raghavendra Goud Vaggu, GM Biopharma, South Asia, Cytiva, also outlined how technology adoption can give impetus to the manufacturing agility of biopharma industry and how Cytiva has been contributing in the same through its legacy of providing innovative solutions to the industry..
Dr. Mahesh Bhalgat, COO of Syngene Intl Ltd accentuated how AI and machine learning capabilities have been put to use in the industry. Commenting on the ways the emerging technologies are transforming the sector he said, “With improved speed along with data visualisation and data processing, an analyst can crunch data in almost real-time now, helping the sector to innovate and thrive in recent months.”
Regulators, too, have improved their stance and are enabling innovations to thrive. According to Sriram Shrinivasan, Partner and Global Emerging Market Leader, EY, regulatory bodies are now working with the industry in a way so as to shift their role from being gatekeepers earlier to enablers currently, adding that this is a very good sign for the industry.
Setting the stage for the second session on ‘Innovation Reboot: BioPharma Manufacturing’, Dr. Manish Diwan, GM & HoD, SPED, BIRAC – PSU of DBT said, “Biopharma has been one of the fastest-growing sectors over the past five years. The industry has recorded almost 55% compound annual growth over this timeframe and is set to grow another 22% in a few more years.”
Talking about the current focus on biosimilars in the industry, the role of biologics and biopharma in reverence to the disease burden and country’s population and the need for focus on innovator molecules in India Dr. Himanshu Gadgil said, “Biosimilars had a role to plan in increasing access as well as affordability for these lifesaving treatments which otherwise would have remained out of access for majority of Indian population and while doing so the biosimilar industry has setup all the know how that is required for bringing these complex molecules out to patients.”
The panellists also discussed various aspects of creating an ecosystem of innovation in the industry. Bringing up the point of gap between industry and academia, Dr. Jitendra, Managing Director, Bangalore Bioinnovation centre, mentioned that the blooming start-up ecosystem should be able to address that challenge and the incubators can act as a catalyst in bringing industry academia together and contribute towards promoting translational research.
Referring to a study that Cytiva conducted with 1100 executives in 20 key countries to understand the biopharma resilience of individual nations, Dr. Firman Ghouze, Marketing Director – Asia Pacific, Cytiva talked about measured index across five key pillars of supply chain resilience, talent pool, R&D ecosystem, manufacturing agility and government policy and regulation, and finding talent is a key bottleneck in the industry at present.
Highlighting the long time required in converting basic research into a product, Prof K J Mukherjee, Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, IIT Delhi opined that the country has excellent research in place, what is required is an ecosystem that facilitates seamless entry to market to lead innovation in the sector.
Looking into how India is positioned and what more needs to be done to make the country the biopharma capital of the world, the subsequent session titled, ‘Making India The Biologics Capital of the World’ brought spotlight on the issues and how India could become the world leader in biologics by bridging the gap.
Discussing the forward movement in development of Biopharmaceuticals India, Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, Tata Institute For Genetics brought forth areas where the Indian biopharma industry needs improvement.
Agreeing to the renewed focus of innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector as it comes at centre stage of the current healthcare ecosystem, the panellists analysed the required support and need to harmonize the ecosystem under one digital umbrella. The centralisation, as discussed, will help in faster access of drugs to the patients.
Dr. Balareddy, Head - Biologics/Biosimilars at Hetero Drugs Ltd, brought up the point of the pressing need of upskilling the talent for India to take a leap in biopharmaceuticals.
Dr. Sundar Ramanan, SVP, Biotherapeutic Strategic Operations, Just-Evotec Biologics, mentioned we need to move from the concept of “capital equipment and cheap labor” to that of “skilled labor and robotics” to achieve the scale needed to be the global market leader in biotechnology space. Francis Van Parys, VP, Commercial, Asia Pacific, Cytiva, also reiterated the significance of adoption of technology to enhance productivity and efficiency which can enable India’s manufacturing infrastructure make leaps and bounds of progress in addition to the great work that the country is already doing.
Scrutinising the challenges that Indian biopharma faces today with respect to differences in the clinical trial regulations between India and the other regulated markets, panellists agreed on harmonization of clinical trials regime as a solution for the problem. The panel also talked through the ways to attract investment and funding in the sector.
The engaging discussion series offered an intuitive perspective on how India can become the undisputed biopharma champion of the world in the years to come. Bringing the focus on the potential as well as the roadblocks in the growth path of the industry, every session took a deep dive into the industry.
This is a partnered post.
First Published: IST