India's Biotech Sector Crosses $1 Billion Revenue Mark

India's fledgling biotechnology industry, fuelled by exports and vaccine sales, grew 36% in the last fiscal year to clock revenues of 47.4 billion rupees ($1.07 billion).

The Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises said on June 10 that exports of biotech products, driven by vaccines and statins and services such as contract research and clinical trials, accounted for 42% of total revenues at 20 billion rupees $(444 million). The biopharmaceutical industry alone grew almost 30 % to 29.7 billion rupees in the year ended March 31, with vaccines contributing 47% of the total biopharma business.

The association said six Indian biotechnology firms had crossed the one-billion-rupee revenue mark during the fiscal year against the previous year. It said 45 new firms began operations last year, taking the total number of Indian biotechnology companies to 280. Some 11,800 scientists are employed in the industry.

"Today this is a serious billion dollar business built by a group of entrepreneurs who have braved many a hurdle and poor fiscal support. The road ahead is challenging and exciting," said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, president of the association and chief of India's top biotech firm, Biocon, with revenues of 6.5 billion rupees she told reporters.

"We have broken the psychological barrier of one billion dollars and the next billion will be much easier," said 51-year-old Shaw, India's wealthiest woman who owns about 40% of Biocon.

Drawing on the second largest English-speaking scientific and skilled manpower pool after the U.S., Indian biotechnology companies working in such areas as clinical trials and vaccines are posting strong growth.

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