President launches cancer drug, opens `Biocon Park'
BANGALORE: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Tuesday suggested to the biomedical scientists to take the initiative to become a working partner in the proteomics project of gene characterisation.
Proteomics, Dr. Kalam said, would help understand the basic biological processes critical to normal cellular functions as well as the development of diseases. As the country had missed an opportunity to be a partner in the human genome project and faced a disadvantage in acquiring the right type of database, it should attempt to become at least a working partner in the project, he said.
Launching India's first cancer drug, BioMab EGFR, and inaugurating the country's largest biotech-hub, "Biocon Park", here, the President said the national programme on proteomics had to be accelerated with the partnership of industries, and research and development laboratories. He said: "The proteomics resulting in a gene chip can become the future diagnosis and treatment regime for many diseases."
Dr. Kalam said India should become the leader in drug production by 2020 by capturing at least 20 per cent of the $ 600 billion pharmaceutical market. The country had core competence in producing cost-effective pharmaceutical products, he added. He said there were opportunities in the field of nanotechnology. With the emergence of nanotechnology, there was convergence of nano-bio-info technologies, resulting in new devices, which had wider applications in structure, electronics, and healthcare and space systems. The President regretted that most of the newly discovered pharmaceutical molecules were sold to multinationals abroad for development of drugs. He said the benefit of value addition went to companies abroad. Only value addition would make the nation competitive. Dr. Kalam commended the Biocon Research Centre for discovering new molecules and transforming them into drugs.
Giving a few tips to Biocon, Dr. Kalam said it should aspire to become one of the top 10 biopharma companies in the world in five years. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, whose speech was read out by Labour Minister Iqbal Ansari, said the Government was keen on public-private partnership in developing biotechnology. It would offer land free of cost near Bidadi for a biotechnology park. Biocon Chairperson and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw regretted lack of support by governments for the development of biotechnology. Karnataka, she said, was ahead in recognising biotechnology's potential and formulated a policy five years ago.