Ahmedabad: CII Gujarat region and Dholera Industrial City, Government of Gujarat hosted a virtual conference on pharma and biotechnology that brought together key speakers from the government and industry who shared their insights on the changing landscape of pharma and biotechnology sectors in COVID-19 times and beyond.
The focus areas of the conference ‘Future of Pharma & Biotechnology: Sustaining Innovation beyond Pandemic’ included the future of vaccines, R&D challenges, Pharma 4.0 in biotechnology, robotics, digitalization and validation, and reshaping pharma for a new era.
Speaking at the inauguration of the virtual conference, Anand Desai, Vice Chairman, CII Gujarat region, said, “The year 2020 has been devastating for the global economy, but a remarkable one for the pharma and biotech industry. The changes the pandemic has ushered in will outlast the pandemic. Gujarat is the hub of pharma manufacturing in India and is poised to strengthen its position further.”
The domestic pharmaceutical industry market is estimated at $42 billion. The country is a leading pharma producer with the third largest in terms of volumes and 14th largest in value. Pharma exports from the country are over $24.4 billion. As the pandemic has shown, the world relies heavily on the Indian pharmaceutical industry to meet its drug requirements, presenting the Indian industry with tremendous growth potential.
Addressing the conference, Dr. K. Bangarurajan, Advisor, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) spoke about the reforms undertaken by the government during the pandemic.
“The government is committed to supporting the pharma industry. The reforms undertaken before and during the pandemic will continue. The pharma industry also needs to shift its focus on research and development of innovative products and services,” he said.
Hareet Shukla, MD, Dholera Industrial City Development Limited, made a presentation about Dholera, the new city being developed by the government of Gujarat around 100 km from Ahmedabad.
“The Dholera project is far ahead of its time and is one of the most ambitious projects of the government of Gujarat. World-class infrastructure is being readied in Dholera, and it will soon be ready to welcome industries from different sectors,” he said
Sudhir Vaid, CMD of Concord Biotech, stressed the need for the Indian pharma industry to keep pace with technology. “Many large Indian pharma companies that were doing well in the 1980s do not even exist now because they did not adopt new technologies. It is critical to adopt the latest technologies to boost research and manufacturing capabilities,” he said.
Biswajit Mitra, Chief Mentoring Officer, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, said focus therapies, building strong partnerships, first-time generics in India, vaccines, and biosimilars as the growth drivers for the Indian pharma industry post-pandemic.
Ashwani Sood, Head, Zentiva India, informed that the pandemic has forced pharma companies to rethink many aspects of their business, including manufacturing and supply chains. “The reforms ushered in by the pandemic will help the industry, especially digitalization initiatives. Adopting new technologies such as AI, machine learning, and wearable medical devices will play a vital role in the industry’s growth,” he said.
Dr. Mohit Sharma, Government Advisory, Healthcare, KPMG Advisory Services, gave an overview of the Indian pharma industry and spoke about the production-linked incentive scheme for the pharma industry.