Image via Shutterstock The centre is planning to launch a venture capital fund of Rs 1,000 crore under the department of pharmaceuticals to support start-ups in the research and development in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, said a senior official from the department of pharmaceuticals. The department is working on setting up such a fund, which would help young entrepreneurs conduct research on new drugs and break through innovations. Delivering special address in the Roundtable Session on Bio & Pharma 2015, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry as part of the upcoming Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet 2015, M Ariz Ahammed, joint secretary, department of pharmaceuticals, said, “The department is working on a venture capital fund to support new drug discovery. There is a lot of potential in start-ups. Drug discovery is no longer a prerogative of the big companies.” The VC scheme would be implemented through the department and it is in the process of formulating detailed plans. Global pharmaceutical majors are continuously in the look out for developing new molecules, which could be used as medicines to address various ailments.
India needs to become a leader in drug discovery, for the good of the country and for the humanity, he said. He added that the government is also working on a scheme to support medium-scale pharmaceutical companies to grow to the next level and would launch soft loan for these firms for upgradation of technology and other matters, to meet the regulatory standards of World Health Organisations’ (WHO) good manufacturing practices (GMP). There are around 10,000 pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, of which 1,500 comply with the WHO standards, while the rest are lagging behind. The soft loan would help the medium firms to grow to the next level, he added.
The official also said that the government is working on a policy on Active Pharmacuetical Ingredients (API) in the country. It is also working on a medical devices policy, he added.
Almost 70 per cent of the healthcare costs are towards medicines and with the increase in disease like cancer, which require huge amount for treatment and affect the producitivity of the patient, the need of the hour is to look at iniovation in affordable medicines, he said.