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Europe looks at India's biotech industry

European companies are outsourcing biotech work to India, including research and development projects on diseases like TB.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 10:48 IST

Seeing "tremendous potential" in the field of life sciences, European companies are outsourcing biotech work to India, including research and development projects on diseases like TB.

"India has tremendous potential for global sourcing in the life sciences. We are starting with an R and D project in tuberculosis, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore," Staf Van Reet, Managing Director of Belgian company Viziphar Biosciences said on Thursday.

Reet was speaking at a seminar in Brussels on the challenges and opportunities in biotechnology in India organised by the Belgo-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Citing the example of the Janssen Stability Centre, which he set up in Mumbai in 1999 when he was Managing Director of Janssen Pharmaceutical - now a part of Johnson and Johnson, Van Reet said, the aim "is to turn the Centre into a 150-seat Centre of excellence, with an investment of up to 18 million dollar," India News in Europe Programme (INEP) reported.

Van Reet preferred the term "global sourcing," which he defined as "integrating the best resources and capabilities of India, Europe and America," to "outsourcing."

Marc van Montagu, who heads the institute for Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries in Belgium's Ghent University and is a pioneer in plant biotechnology, said "India needs to boost the culture of innovation, to move from an outsourcing service industry to an innovative R and D-based industry."

Regretting India's "unfavourable policies on genetically modified (GM) food crops," Montagu said, "no adverse effects have been reported with approved GM crops."