Business / Industry Sectors
The fastest growing knowledge-based sectors in India
With numerous comparative advantages in terms of R&D facilities, knowledge, skills, and cost effectiveness, the biotechnology industry in India has immense potential to emerge as a global key player.

The Indian biotechnology sector is one of the fastest growing knowledge-based sectors in India and is expected to play a key role in shaping India's rapidly developing economy. With numerous comparative advantages in terms of Research and Development (R&D) facilities, knowledge, skills, and cost effectiveness, the biotechnology industry in India has immense potential to emerge as a global key player. India has many assets in its strong pool of scientists and engineers, vast institutional network, and cost effective manufacturing. There are more than 300 college level educational and training institutes across the country offering degrees and diplomas in biotechnology, bio-informatics and the biological sciences, producing nearly 500,000 students per year.




Current Scenario



Growing at an average rate of about 20%, India's biotech industry comprising of bio-pharmaceuticals, bio-services, bio-agriculture, bio-industry and bioinformatics may reach the USD 7 billion mark by the end of 2015. The biotechnology industry in India, comprising of about 400 companies has grown three-fold in the last five years to reach USD 4 billion in 2013.  India's biotechnology sector is benefitting from several advantages like its cost effectiveness, research and development (R&D) expertise and personal skills as India is now globally recognized as an ideal location for manufacturing biotech products and for conducting high-level research programme in the field. The Indian biotech industry grew threefold in five years to report revenues of USD 3 billion during 2009-11, a rise of 17 per cent over the previous year, according to the eighth annual survey conducted by the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises.



Increasing investments, outsourcing activities and exports are the key drivers for growth in India's biotech sector. Biotechnology is a capital-intensive sector with long gestation periods for returns. Hence, it is important to provide an enabling environment such as incentives, infrastructure and funding models to make the industry sustainable.



Bio-pharma is the largest sector contributing about 64% of the total revenue followed by bio-services (18%), bio-agri (14%), bio-industry (4%), while bio-informatics is still at a nascent stage contributing just about 1% of the total revenue."With revenue generation to the tune of over Rs 12,600 crore, the bio-pharma sector comprises of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. While, India has emerged as a leading destination for clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing activities owing to the growth in the bio services sector, which accounts for revenue generation worth about Rs 3,800 crore.






Biopharma: Is estimated to reach USD 2.5 billion by 2015. Majority of multinationals collaborate with major bio-pharma companies for early stage clinical trials as well as to sell the finished product for better market penetration.Vaccines and recombinant therapeutics are the leading sectors driving the biotechnologyindustry’s growth in India. Protein and antibody production and the fabrication of diagnostic protein chips are a promising area for investment.




Bio Agri: Bio agriculture segment is estimated at $7.8 billion. The methods for grain production can address the challenges in the food grain production. Technology provides methods to improve the effectiveness of agriculture inputs bring down input costs and increase output.



Others: Some other potential areas of development include bio-similars, stem cells, medicinal and aromatic plants, animal biotechnology, aquaculture and marine biotechnology, genome analysis and others.




Major Players

Top 20 companies accounted for 47.4% of the Industry revenues in 2013


Revenue (USD Million) 2013


Revenue (USD Million 2013)

Serum Institute of India


Rasi Seeds




Panacea Biotech


Nuziveedu Seeds


Bharat Biotech


Novo Nordisk


Ankur Seeds


Reliance Life Sciences










Major Investments

Some of the major investments in the sector are as follows:

Name of company




Indian partner



USD 104 mill





USD 104 mill



Panacea Biotec Ltd


USD 119.2 mill



Sanofi Aventis


USD 773.8 mill


Bought ShanthaBiotechnics

Vibha Seeds Group


USD 42.99 mill

Andhra Pradesh


Alexandria Real Estate


USD 107.48 mill








Major Collaborations

  • Avesthagen, a Bangalore-based life sciences firm, has announced the formation of a joint venture (JV) with Limagrain, a French international cooperative group. Limagrain will hold the majority 51 per cent in the JV, Atash Seeds Pvt Ltd, to build agri-biotech business model for field crops.
  • Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Germany-based global crop sciences major Bayer AG and GVK Biosciences Private Limited (GVK Bio) of Hyderabad, has entered into a research cooperation agreement in the area of early discovery chemistry.
  • Also, GVK Biosciences has partnered with the US-based clinical organization, ResearchPoint Global. Together, the two companies which are full service contract research organizations (CROs) will offer access to medical writing, clinical data management and biostatistics, as well as quicker patient recruitment.
  • Biocon Limited, the country's second largest biotechnology firm, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia's Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) to explore collaboration and potential investment in Malaysia's biotechnology industry.UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Association of Biotech Led Enterprise (ABLE) today signed a memorandum of understanding to encourage and develop collaborative opportunities between Indian Life Sciences organizations and the United King.






Government Initiatives

Some of the initiatives taken by both Central government and State governments that have provided a big boost to the biotech industry in India are:

  • Setting up a venture capital fund, to support small and medium enterprises
  •  Good regulatory framework has been set up for approval of GM crops and DNA products.
  •  India has a sound and widely acknowledged framework of biosafety guidelines to deal with evaluation, monitoring and release of genetically engineered organisms and there are more than 106 institutional bio-safety committees.

The setting up of a separate Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, has been a significant move by the government. The department has been instrumental in accelerating the pace of development of biotechnology in the country in several ways. It has launched schemes to promote innovations in biotechnology in India like:





BIPP (Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programmes) for advanced technology

It is a scheme focused on frontier technology for environment, health, agriculture, bio-energy and bio-manufacturing. The scheme allows private industries to undertake research and share the related costs with public research centers,while retaining the intellectual property of the results, with re-payment of a royalty to the public institution. The scheme is reserved for Indian companies by join-venture with foreign partnership are eligible, provided the share of the latter does not exceed 49%.




SBIRI (Small Business Innovation Research Industry)

A scheme to support innovation for the Small-Medium Enterprises of the biotech sector, with provision for grant of 80% of the total cost of the research project if it is below 2.5 million Indian Rupees, and 50% for any amount up to 10 million Rupees. Beyond this ceiling, it is possible to obtain an interest-free loan up to 5 million Rupees and 1% up to 10 million Rupees.





BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council)

This has been activated to support and assist start-ups, especially SMEs, to catalyze biotech in the private sector and promote PPP projects.




Bio-tech parks

There are 27 biotech parks across India. The largest are located in Hyderabad and in Pune. Important biotech parks are located also in Lucknow and Chennai. Typically, biotech parks are meant to provide the following facilities and services:

  • Research
  • Incubation
  • Clustering of private industries



Key Biotechnology Parks and Research Institute in India


Biotechnology Parks

  • ShapoorjiPallonji Biotech Park in Hyderabad, ICICI knowledge Park in Hyderabad, International Biotech Park in Pune, Lucknow Biotech Park in Lucknow, Golden JubileeBiotech Park in Chennai, Tidel Bio Park in Chennai
  • Research Institutes
  • Center for Cellular & Molecular Biology (Hyderabad), Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (Kolkata), Institute of Genomics and integrative Biology (New Delhi), Institute of Microbial Technology (Chandigarh), National Center for Biological Sciences (Bengaluru), Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research (Bengaluru),Indian Institute of Science (Bengaluru)


*The Author is a Director of Market Intelligence in ASA & Associates LLP,




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