• The Union Government has entered into an agreement with World Bank for flexible financing arrangement to accelerate research towards early development for biopharmaceuticals under National Biopharma Mission.
• The agreement was signed between the project implementing agency – BIRAC a PSU of DBT, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (on behalf of World Bank).
=> About National Biopharma Mission
• The National Biopharma Mission is being implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) – a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
• It aims to make India a hub for design and development of novel, affordable and effective biopharmaceutical products such as vaccines, biologics and medical devices for combating public health concerns.
=> Significance of the programme
• The programme will specifically focus on the development of new vaccines, biotherapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to better address the rising burden of diseases in the country.
• It will also bring isolated centres of excellence together, enhance regional capabilities and strengthen the current bio-clusters network in terms of capacities as well as quantity and quality of output.
• This would strengthen the translational capability of academic researchers; empower bio-entrepreneurs and SMEs by decreasing the cost and risk during early stages of product development and also elevate the innovation quotient of the industry.
• India has been an active player in the pharmaceutical industry and has contributed globally towards making life-saving drugs and low-cost pharmaceutical products accessible and affordable for those in need.
• Be it the Rotavirus vaccine, heart valve prosthesis or affordable insulin, India has been a forerunner in these and many more.
• Despite, these advances Indian biopharmaceutical industry is still 10-15 years behind their counterparts in the developed countries and faces stiff competition from China, Korea and others. The lacuna primarily exists due to disconnected centres of excellence, less focus on translational research and staggered funding.