New Delhi: The Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences Y. S. Chowdary has said that biotechnology will be the leader among the knowledge based industries of the 21st century. The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the 5th Foundation Day of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Bio-Technology at New Delhi today. 

'We aim to develop India into a global innovation hub by 2020 and BIRAC has paved the way to deliver on that mandate,' the Minister said. BIRAC is a not-for-profit public sector enterprise, set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India which acts as an interface agency to support emerging biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation, to address nationally relevant product development needs.

He said producing affordable products will be major issue for India. He called for efforts to set up a proper ecosystem with sustainable systems, particularly in hubs of rural India. 

The DBT, in line with the Start-Up India Action Plan has undertaken a number of initiatives centered on the three pillars of an ideal innovation ecosystem – funding, mentoring and capacity building, and the infrastructure to translate scientific research into commercial products. To this end, BIRAC implements its mandate through a wide range of high impact initiatives, providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, facilitating technology transfer, and supporting intellectual property management and handholding schemes for biotech firms to make them globally competitive.  

The BIRAC Foundation will be followed by the Grand Challenges India Meeting to be held from 21st to 24th March, 2017 which will have the participation of BMGF, Wellcome Trust, USAID and Grand Challenges Innovators from Brazil, Canada, Bangladesh, Korea, South Africa, Kenya, Switzerland.