Hyderabad becoming India's biotech hub

The Genome Valley that is fast developing in the city will house among other things an international life sciences institute.
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Published on Feb 28, 2006 07:31 PM IST
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None | ByMohammed Shafeeq (IANS), Hyderabad

Confirming its reputation as India's biotechnology hub, a Genome Valley that is fast developing here will house among other things an international life sciences institute, a world-class animal resource facility and a biotech incubation centre for start-ups.

Genome Valley is the first state-of the-art biotech cluster in India for life science research, training and manufacturing activities. More than 50 biotech companies, including several multinationals, have already set up their units in this cluster, spread over 600 sq km around the city.

The international institute of life sciences, coming up on Hyderabad University campus, will be modelled on the lines of Johns Hopkins University.

"It will be an industry-driven centre of excellence in life science research and the funding for it will come from a consortium of companies," said BP Acharya, vice chairman and managing director, Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Limited.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will set up the National Animal Resource Facility for Biomedical Research in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US.

The government has allotted 100 acres of land for the facility, which will come up at a cost of Rs.1 billion ($22 million) near ICICI Knowledge Park.

"This will be the largest facility for primates in South Asia," said Acharya, who played a key role in the development of Genome Valley.

An umbilical cord stem cell bank and bio-medical research centre and state-of-the-art maternity hospital to be set up by the Pacific Health Care Holdings, Singapore; an agri biotech park at International Crop Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)) at Patancheru on the city outskirts; a dedicated township life city for those employed in Genome Valley; and a marine biotech park in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam are the other initiatives planned by the state.

The state had also set up India's first biotech venture fund with a corpus of $30 million, launched as a joint venture between the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (APIDC) Venture Capital Ltd and Dynam Venture East, USA, to fund start-up biotech companies.

The ICICI Knowledge Park, which offers wet labs for research and development, and SP Biotech Park in Genome Valley have already attracted 54 leading biotech companies.

United States Pharmacopeia, the official public standards-setting authority for medicines in the US, has also set up its facility here, its first outside Washington.

"Such is the response that the first two phases of both the Knowledge Park and Biotech Park are fully occupied and we are going for rapid expansion," said D Ashok, director, biotechnology, Andhra Pradesh.

With two phases of the SP biotech park fully occupied, the state government has allotted 300 acres of land for the third phase.

"The Genome Valley has already become a role model for other states and countries," he added.

BioAsia 2006, the global bio business forum beginning on February 9, will showcase the biotech cluster.

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