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Biotechnology Industry in India

May, 2013


The Indian biotechnology sector is one of the fastest growing knowledge-based sectors in India and is expected to play a key role in shaping India's rapidly developing economy. With numerous comparative advantages in terms of research and development (R&D) facilities, knowledge, skills, and cost effectiveness, the biotechnology industry in India has immense potential to emerge as a global key player.

India has many assets in its strong pool of scientists and engineers, vast institutional network, and cost effective manufacturing. There are over a hundred national research laboratories employing thousands of scientists. There are more than 300 college level educational and training institutes across the country offering degrees and diplomas in biotechnology, bio-informatics and the biological sciences, producing nearly 500,000 students on an annual basis.

In fact, India has been ranked among the top 12 biotech destinations worldwide and third largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Key segments in the Indian biotechnology industry:

  • Bio-pharma
  • Bio-services
  • Bio-agri
  • Bio-industrial
  • Bio-informatics

Market Size

The Indian biotech industry registered 18.5 per cent growth in FY12; total industry size stood at US$ 4.3 billion at the end of the financial year. The industry is expected to grow to US$ 11.6 billion by 2017, driven by a range of factors including growing demand, intensive R&D activities and strong Government initiatives.

The bio-pharmaceutical sector accounted for the largest chunk of the biotech industry, with a share of 62 per cent in total revenues in FY12. In the same year, bio-services and the bio-agri segments followed the bio-pharmaceutical segment with shares of 18.3 per cent and 14.9 per cent respectively. Growth was fastest in the bio-agri segment (23 per cent in FY12), followed by bio-pharma (19 per cent) and bio-services (15.5 per cent).


Investments, along with outsourcing activities and exports, are key drivers for growth in the biotech sector.

According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the drugs and pharmaceuticals sector has attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) worth Rs 48,828.3 crore (US$ 8.81 billion) between April 2000 and February 2013.

Some of the major investments in the sector are as follows:

  • LifeCell International Pvt Ltd has won funding of Rs 35 crore (US$ 6.31 million) from Helion Venture Partners. The investment will be used to increase LifeCell's market awareness and penetration in the country, said Mr Mayur Abhaya, CEO and MD, LifeCell
  • Biocon has entered into an agreement with Mylan for the global development and commercialisation of Biocon's generic insulin analog products (long lasting insulins), which has a global addressable market of US$ 11.5 billion
  • Biomax Fuels has formed a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with the Jeddah-based Middle East Environment Protection Co to set up the first bio-fuel plant in Saudi Arabia
  • Eli Lilly and Strides Arcolab have inked a pact to increase delivery of cancer medicines in emerging markets. Agila Specialties, the specialties division of Strides Arcolab, will make cancer medicines and Eli Lilly will market them in emerging geographies