Times of India: February 08, 2017
Hyderabad: The maiden day of the 14th edition of the state government's flagship pharma and biotech event - BioAsia 2017 -- attracted investments to the tune of Rs 3,382 crore and also put forth an idea of 'Genome Valley 2.0' that can try to replicate Silicon Valley in the area of innovation. Overall, since its inception in 2004, BioAsia has attracted cumulative investments of Rs 14,000 crore. Giving details about the investments at the inaugural session, Telangana IT, industries, MA & UD, NRI affairs minister KT Rama Rao pointed out that new projects entailing investments of Rs 1,680 crore have been launched at Genome Valley. These include projects such as Biological E's new vaccine unit (Rs 300 crore), MN Park Phase 2 that will build 2 million sft laboratory space (Rs 1,000 crore) and the country's largest animal resource facility (Rs 330 crore, which is being developed by the government of India in partnership with the state government) and SME hub at ICICI Knowledge Park (Rs 50 crore). "These initiatives mark the beginning of the next wave of development of Genome Valley 2.0... Genome Valley will very soon compete with the likes of Silicon Valley in terms of innovation and introduction of new drugs and vaccines," Rao said. The Telangana government also inked a MoU with PE firm Cerestra to explore a 'Life Sciences Infrastructure Fund' with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore to create a sophisticated modular plug and play infrastructure for pharma, biotech and medical devices industry. The government awarded allotment letters to six pharma companies for setting up or expanding units with a cumulative investment of Rs 702 crore. The minister also announced that IALA (Industrial Area Local Authority) status will be accorded to Genome Valley soon, which will enable it to create world class infrastructure as well as civic amenities at the campus. He said that the government has also asked the companies at Genome Valley to switch to renewable energy. Rao also said that he has requested Johnson & Johnson to set up a research centre in Hyderabad and build it as its global innovation hub. The minister also spoke about the government's ambitious 14,000-acre Pharma City project. To give a glimpse of the overall experience at the Pharma City, an experience zone and virtual reality view of the cluster too has been set up at the BioAsia exhibition. The government also announced the launch of the TB-Free Telangana Programme, which is a joint initiative of the state government and Johnson & Johnson. In her address, Soumya Swaminathan, director-general, Indian Council of Medical Research, pointed out that a lot of work also has to be done in the area of nutrition. "If you want the next generation to be healthy -- not just mentally but intellectually-- we need to focus on nutrition," she said.
Swaminathan also added that it is important for the government to support research of innovator drugs as the initial investment in developing these molecules is high and there is no guarantee of any outcome.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governor ESL Narasimhan said that the government along with the industry has to ensure that affordable and accessible healthcare does not stay confined of urban India but also reaches rural India.
At the inaugural, the Genome Valley Excellence Award 2017 was awarded to Nobel Laureate Prof Kurt Wuthrichand and Dr Paul Stoffels, worldwide chairman (pharmaceuticals) and chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson.
The 14th edition of BioAsia with a theme of 'Power of the Past, Force of the Future', is expected to witness participation from around 1,500 delegates from over 50 countries.
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