Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Managing Director of Biocon, said the "regulatory hurdles are a major challenge to drug development in the country."

The regulatory regime governing clinical trials poses challenges to Indian biotechnology companies, said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson of the State Vision Group on Biotechnology and chairman and managing director of Biocon, here on Friday.

Speaking at the curtain raiser to announce the 14 edition of the industry’s flagship event, Bangalore India Bio 2014, Ms. Shaw said the “regulatory hurdles are a major challenge to drug development in the country.” She said that regulation, not only in India but in other countries as well, would be discussed at the event to be held from February 10 to 12, 2014.

Ms. Shaw said that the alleged abuse of guidelines and regulations governing clinical trials would not be discussed at the event. “This would not be the forum to debate this,” she remarked.

Describing the regulatory regime as “draconian”, Ms. Shaw said that biotechnology has the “power” to transform the energy, food and health sectors, apart from promoting environmental sustainability. “Karnataka can emerge as a global biotech manufacturing hub, provided there is sufficient investment and pragmatic regulation,” she said.

Srivatsa Krishna, Secretary, Department of IT, BT and Science and Technology, said that biotechnology had the potential to perform as well as the IT industry had done in the last two decades.

While the IT industry generates revenues amounting to Rs. 6.4 lakh crore, of which 80 per cent is exported, the size of the biotechnology industry is about Rs. 23,500 crore, 50 per cent of which is earned through exports. “Why can’t the biotechnology of today become the IT (industry) of tomorrow?” he said.

Sir John coming

Nobel laureate Sir John Bertrand Gurdon will deliver a lecture on the opening day of the event. Marc Van Montagu, winner of the World Food Prize in 2013, would speak at the event. More than 3,000 business visitors from 15 countries are expected to attend the event.

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