The union minister for science and technology and earth sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on May 17, 2015, inaugurated the first phase of the Bio Innovation Centre of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) in Tiruvananthapuram. The 50,000 sq feet innovation centre, set up with an outlay of Rs 100 crore, would create an environment where knowledge generated through fundamental research in disease biology and molecular medicine gets translated to innovative new tools and products.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the innovation centre should become a hub for mid and high level innovation founded on advanced level technical platforms and multidisciplinary core that will seed growth and innovation.
Phase 2 of the BIC, which is also under implementation over 20 acres, will include a state of the art research laboratories. It will include an ‘Advanced Centre for Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics’, a 75 bed hospital jointly run with the Regional Cancer Centre, which will offer cutting edge technologies, therapies and clinical trials for cancer vaccines, immunotherapeutics. There will also be facilities for addition therapies such as stem cell replacements, gene therapy, molecular tumour targeting and imaging.
Revealing that private sector investment will be drawn to the project, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “RGCB is poised to become a major biotech growth centre because we are offering investors from the biotech and biopharma sectors state-of-the-art, ‘test and prove’ platforms. They will use these to carry out pre-clinical, analytical, toxicological and biological assays to validate biotech or biological products.”
The minister said that the biotechnology sector is growing at an annual rate of 30 percent and India is set to become home to the world’s third largest setup in the sector by 2025. He said, “I see ten years down the road, a $ 100 billion industry which will be the powerhouse of not only India’s pharmaceutical sector, but will be on a global scale. At this rate of growth it looks likely to be bigger than the domestic pharmaceutical industry.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan added, “We are talking about building up clusters of growth which would be home to international societies of scientists of all types linked to biotechnology. Backed by the government’s liberal FDI policy (100 percent for greenfield and brownfield), this is a winner situation.”