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Bangalore Bio show on despite Iraq war, SARS
Fakir Chand in Bangalore | April 14, 2003 15:10 IST
Bangalore Bio 2003, Asia's premier tradeshow on biotechnology, is set to take off on Tuesday, brushing aside the fallout of the Iraq war and the dreaded Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus gripping South East Asia.
The three-day international exposition-cum-conference, being held in the imposing royal settings of the Bangalore Palace, has received a positive response from about 120 companies from India and abroad, including several from Europe and the US, as against 75 firms last year.
"Delegations and representatives from about 20 countries are participating in the exhibition as well as conferences as against 10 countries last year.
"Some of the countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US," declared event chairperson and Biocon Ltd CEO Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on Monday.
Allaying fears of the Gulf war impact on the event, Mazumdar said there were no cancellations from confirmed participants, barring one or two, as preparations for the show were underway much before the war broke out last month.
"Though we don't have much participation or delegations from the SARS-hit South East Asia, a few delegates from Singapore are already here (Bangalore) to take part in the conferences," Mazumdar added.
Among international scientists and bio-technologists attending the bio summit are: David W Martin Jr, CEO of Eos Biotech and chairman of the US-based Gangagen Inc, the world's first biotech firm; Jacques Henri Weil, director of the Strasbourg-based Plant Molecular Institute, France; Claude Fauquet, deputy director of the US-based Danforth Plant Science Center, and Kenneth D Delcol, director of the Toronto-based MDS Sciex, Canada.
The third edition of the annual conclave has even been certified by the US Department of Commerce, acknowledging its contribution to the growth of the emerging industry in the sub-continent.
Representing the diverse segments of the industry, the mega event will focus on bio processing, bio-instrumentation, bio-informatics, agri-bio, contract research, health and pharma sectors, institutional investment and venture capital.
As India's numero uno biotech show, the event has made 12 premier research labs across the country and 5 states, viz., Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan to take up space in the knowledge pavilion for showcasing their technologies and domain expertise in bio-revolution.
The country pavilion will display the achievements and strengths of six major countries, besides India.
Coinciding with the event, Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna will inaugurate the first Biotech Park in the state on Tuesday. Located in the Electronics City on the outskirts of Bangalore, the BT park will have a built-area of 150 acres in two phases.
The Institute of Bio-informatics and Applied Biotechnology and the Centre for Human Genetics will also be located in the upcoming BT park. An incubation centre for new entrepreneurs is also being planned.
This time, the stakeholders in the industry have also come together to set up an organisation christened the Association of Biotech Led Enterprises on the lines of Nasscom (National Association of Software and Service Companies) for the Indian software industry.
"The association will interface with various government and private agencies, besides the academia, R&D institutions, and international organisation for addressing the concerns of the nascent industry," Mazumdar affirmed.
According to industry sources, the country attracted a cumulative project investment of Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) in the sector during 1999-2001, including Rs 75 crore (Rs 750 million) venture capital.
During the same period, the industry generated a combined revenue of Rs 750 crore (Rs 7.5 billion), including exports of Rs 250 crore (Rs 2.5 billion).
Karnataka alone witnessed an investment of Rs 250 crore in biotech projects during 2001-2002.
Due to spur in activity and budgetary incentives extended by the Centre, investments in the state are estimated to touch Rs 450 crore (Rs 4.5 billion) in the new fiscal year (2003-04).