Bio-IT - A lifeline for Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Research
Information technology applied to the science of biotechnology has resulted in the specialized tools, technologies and systems known as Bio-IT. It is essential to the support of clinical and biomedical research, which is the field of bioinformatics.
Scientific advances in drug discovery research, in related fields like molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, chemistry and pharmacogenomics (The study of how an individual’s genetic inheritance affects the body’s response to drugs), yield vast amounts of data. It is Bio-IT that enables the researcher to -
- Organize, analyze and interpret the data
- Handle bioprocessing systematically
- Shorten product and process lifecycles
- Make sense of the complex interaction between variables
- Derive logical conclusions and actionable results within shorter time-frames
Bio-IT industry spurred by global growth in bioinformatics
This growth in the global bioinformatics market has positive implications for the Bio-IT industry.
The ’Bioinformatics Market Update’ by RNCOS, a market research organization, provides a detailed overview of the Bioinformatics industry worldwide. RNCOS analysts project an annual market growth rate of 15.8% or US $3 billion by 2010. The total European Bioinformatics market is set to expand from nearly $310 million in 2004 to $720 million by 2011.
A greater number of R&D centers across the world are seeking a common base for transfer of data, information and knowledge to enable an informatics-based decision support system. According to the Update, 20% of the applications discovered are based on genomics and proteomics, which boost the growth of Bioinformatics tools. The largest markets for Bioinformatics include USA, Europe and Japan.
Bio-IT in India for Biopharma, Bioresearch and Biotechnology outsourcing
From inception to launch, a drug’s development can span 15 years and require an investment of $1 billion. The soaring cost of drug discovery and development, currently estimated at approximately US$800 million is compounded by the high rate of drug failures, with only 15 percent of new drugs entering development expected to reach the market. This has triggered the outsourcing wave with pharmaceutical companies vying with each other to keep time and costs down, to reach the market earlier with a superior product that is competitively priced. They need software and products that are tailored for bioresearch, biopharma and biomedical applications, in order to keep their products, processes and pricing competitive. India with its track record in the global IT market is ideally positioned for growth in the Bio-IT outsourcing field, for drug discovery and development, life sciences research, pharmaceutical quality assurance and pharmaceutical marketing research.
The fast-growing Indian biotech industry has recorded sales growth of 37.42 percent in 2005-06 to reach ($1.45 billion (Rs 6,521 crore) in revenues.
The BioPharma sector, comprising vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics has recorded $1.05 billion in revenues (Rs 4,708 crore).
Bio-IT solutions are speeding up prescription drug research, pharmaceutical compounding and market research. India offers integrated Bio-IT solutions through contract research organizations (CROs). Solutions include biological and chemical databases, data analysis, data mining, biomedical text mining and customized tool development among others.
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IT, BT to Bio-IT: Bangalore is India’s largest biocluster
With Bangalore firmly established as the country's premier IT, ITeS and biotech hub, it comes as no surprise that the city is home to India’s largest biocluster. 158 of 320 biotech companies are based here, with total revenues of Rs 1,400 crore. Further, fifty-five per cent of India’s biotech companies are located in Karnataka, according a report by the chairperson of the Karnataka Vision Group on Biotechnology, Ms. Kiran Mazundar Shaw, CMD of Biocon. The Group’s Biotechnology Vision outlines initiatives to propel the growth of the biotech industry here.
Biotech Park coming up in Bangalore
The Karnataka Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Karnataka Vision Group for setting up a Rs. 103-crore Biotech Park in Bangalore. The Park will have facilities for a biotech incubation center, a research center for human genetics and an institute of bioinformatics and applied biotechnology.
India’s potential to be a significant global player
India ranks among the top 10 biotech hubs of the world today. The biotech industry in India is confidently looking forward to reaching the 5-billion mark by 2010, which would catapult it to the club of the world’s top 5 biotech hubs.
The Indian biotechnology market has a growth rate of 36.5 percent per annum that is amongst the highest in the world. Although it presently commands a market share of just 2 per cent of global revenues, India has great potential to become a significant player in the global biotech market by 2010.
India already has the largest vaccine production capacity in the world and can carve a significant niche in such emerging segments as vaccines, diagnostics and clinical trials.
Bio-IT services have the potential to replace or limit wet-lab experiments and speed up the generation of fresh information. This will give a new thrust to innovations and advances in biological science. Bangalore is well positioned to move to the forefront of this growth sector.
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