India's Bioinformatics Industry: An Engine for Global Growth - Experience and expertise is fueling opportunity. - BioPharm International

ADVERTISEMENT

India's Bioinformatics Industry: An Engine for Global Growth
Experience and expertise is fueling opportunity.


BioPharm International
Volume 21, Issue 7

India also offers pro-pharma government policies. The New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI), launched by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), provides financial support as grants-in-aid to institutional and industrial partners. Since 2003, it has funded 37 projects involving 65 industry partners and 175 R&D institutions with an estimated outlay of $67.5 million. Of the 37 on-going projects, four are in bioinformatics.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

A full understanding of the complex IT requirements and biotechnology processes is key for IT suppliers if they are to bridge the gap between IT and biotechnology. From the BioPlan study, some major opportunity areas for IT companies include:

  • Creating mechanisms to support effective approaches for producing robust software that can be widely shared
  • As major pharmaceutical and genome-based biotech companies invest heavily in software, Indian IT companies have the opportunity to offer complete database solutions
  • Improving the content and utility of databases
  • Developing better tools for data generation, capture, and annotation
  • Developing and improving tools and databases for comprehensive functional studies
  • Developing and improving tools for representing and analyzing sequence similarity and variation.

Because of the small size of most organizations in the field, the lack of sufficient educational programs, and inadequate financial rewards, commercialization of basic science discoveries into industrial products is limited.

A major issue in India is the level of skills required to develop custom applications to integrate geographically and functionally separate databases and programs. Many biotech professionals have superficial IT knowledge, according to the study. Often, those who opt for bioinformatics have life sciences backgrounds, and have not been exposed to the IT side of bioinformatics.

This problem, however, is not limited to India. According to Kristina Obom, PhD, associate program chair, Biotechnology, at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), "Bioinformatics is an important part of R&D in Biotechnology. Training and education are essential in bioinformatics as it requires complex skills in computer science, bioscience, and IT. Most scientists in biotech today simply do not have all the necessary skills to be successful in the field. This lack of education tends to prolong R&D and increase costs of discovery."

SUMMARY

Indian IT companies have an opportunity to offer complete database solutions to major pharmaceutical and genome-based biotech companies. The IT industry can take advantage of opportunities in bioinformation through offerings in hardware, database packages, implementation and customization of software, and functional database enhancements.

Venture capital and other funding sources are still needed, though. This may require concurrent support from government agencies, in the form of building infrastructure and funding of small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Foreign companies can offer knowledge Indian companies may lack, so partnering will likely become an important element in this segment's growth, as Indian companies increasingly recognize that expertise in bioinformatics is not enough without expertise in areas such as lead generation, toxicology studies, regulatory affairs, and patenting.

Eric Langer is president and managing partner at BioPlan Associates, Inc., Rockville, MD. He is also the editor of Advances in Biopharmaceutical Technology in India, 301.921.9074.

REFERENCES

1. Sawant D. Life sciences education in India. In: Langer ES, editor. Advances in Biopharmaceutical Technology in India. Rockville, MD: BioPlan Associates Inc. and Society for Industrial Microbiology. 2008.


blog comments powered by Disqus

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Bristol-Myers Squibb Announces Agreement to Acquire HER2-Targeted Cancer Treatment
October 29, 2014
Amgen, Sanofi, and Ono Pharmaceuticals Partner with Universities on Transmembrane Protein Research
October 28, 2014
Yale and Gilead Extend Sequencing Initiative
October 28, 2014
Contract Research and Manufacturing Organization Paragon Bioservices Raises $13 Million
October 28, 2014
Novartis Sells Influenza Vaccine Business to CSL for $275 Million
October 27, 2014
Author Guidelines
Source: BioPharm International,
Click here