the annual flagship event of Federation of Asian Biotech Associations
(FABA) and Government of Telangana, was held from 22nd
February, 2018 in Hyderabad. Over the past years, this annual meeting has provided
a unique opportunity for the political leaders, flagbearers of the biotech & pharma and novice entrepreneurs to come under one umbrella, with
the motto- “Grow and let grow”.
active participation from
members of the government too. KT
Minister of Industries and Commerce, Govt of Telangana interacted
with heads of several life science companies at a special session
named, CEO Conclave. The discussions at the CEO conclave brought to forefront several roadblocks hindering the progress of biotech
industry like, recognition of need of fund management for betterment
of technologies and facilities at par with developed countries. These
problems were further discussed by Suresh Prabhu, Minister
of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India
and KT Rama Rao in a special chat session, so that a better roadmap
can be created for further upliftment of the growing biotech and pharma industry of India. Just like the IT boom of the 90s, they
felt, it is time to pave way for the pharma and biotech boom.
of the several Indian pharma companies were brought
out in their discussions, notably, the advances in vaccine
production. The expectation from many of the panelists was to see the
nascent pharma and biotech industries contributing exponentially to
global healthcare needs, in a few years. “India continues to be an
attractive industry with strong growth and currently leads the world
in biogenerics. However, pricing pressure and challenges in global R&D,
technology, regulatory affairs & supply chain will continue to exist in
the industry”, said, Sanat Chattopadhyay, Executive VP, Merck &
Co. Inc., US in his keynote lecture.
session on Evolving Regulations and Policy was conducted by USFDA,
where safety regulations for new age pharmaceuticals, including cell
and gene therapy products, were discussed.
Andrei Spinei, Scientific Administrator, European
UK and Sachin Bhandari, Head Computerized
Sun Pharmaceuticals emphasized on the
in the regulatory environment and practices for manufacturers to get
the next generation drugs from bench to bedside.
year much excitement was seen in the session on Digital Health,
Analytics & Artificial Intelligence.
The panel featured eminent industrialists like Aniruddha Rajurkar, VP& India Commercial Head, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd,
Venugopal Reddy, SVP& Global Head of Healthcare & Life
Sciences, Tech Mahindra and Subodh Desmukh, SVP& Head - Global
Drug Development, Novartis, among others. This session highlighted
the advantages of bridging different facets of IT like Artificial
Intelligence, machine learning, data mining with the recent
advancements in biotechnology to enable high-throughput data analysis
and perfecting gene editing, that will shape the future of Indian healthcare.
panelists discussed how the demand for
healthcare can now be served by advancement in genome sequencing
platforms and artificial intelligence. For example, Vikas Chauhan,
co-founder of 1Mg, a start-up, shared how their database on customer
feedback and survey could help
the ideal pill size/shape for
acceptibility of a medicinal product, for
not previously available. Desmukh
about Novartis’ project on application of Google lens to
Already, devices coupled with apps are engaged in monitoring dynamic
health situation but Reddy ( of Tech Mahindra) stressed on the fact that
active data collection should always be accompanied adequate data security.
point-of-care devices have made diagnostics cheaper and faster and it
is hoped that robotics and machine learning will lower the costs
further. Discussions of this session were carried forward in the
concluding session that was called, 6 start-ups to look forward to”
conference also showcased international exhibits of diverse products
like sequencing platforms, bio-arrays, novel diagnostic tools,
prosthetics, 3D bio-printed scaffolds, etc, by 82 companies
including Dr Reddy’s, Merck, IKP, BIRAC, Novartis, GVK Bio, SHANTA,
ATGC and GE Healthcare.
2018 hosted 1757 delegates representing 52 countries, with over 100
speakers. On the sidelines, 1250 partnering meets were conducted,
giving rise to key strategic decisions.
over the success of BioAsia, Shakthi Nagappan, Director of Life
Sciences, Govt. of Telangana and CEO, BioAsia, concluded that
Indian Biotech and Pharma sector is undergoing a paradigm shift with
the advancements in technologies. By 2019, BioAsia expects to cross
by creating a multidisciplinary platform to provide solutions for dealing with increasing demands of food production and
efficient healthcare systems.