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Telangana aims to make life sciences a $100 billion industry




Buoyed by the tremendous growth in the life sciences industry in Telangana amidst the pandemic over the last one year, the state government has set the vision to growing the sector to $100 billon dollars by 2030.

“Our dream and vision of growing the life sciences industry to over USD 100 billion looks plausible and we remain committed to it,” state’s industry minister K. T. Rama Rao told Bio Asia 2021, the annual flagship event which began here on Monday.

The life sciences sector in Telangana in terms of value is $13 billion while in terms of cluster revenues it is $50 billion. The potential for next 10 years is to move up to $100 billion of ecosystem valuation, said Dr Satish Reddy, Chairman, Reddy’s Laboratories, who heads the advisory committee constituted by the state government to prepare vision 2030 for the sector.

Referring to manufacturing of vaccines for Covid-19 in Hyderabad, Rama Rao said Hyderabad’s position as the “vaccine capital of the world” was further bolstered. “I take pride in saying that Hyderabad rose to the occasion and made an impact for the world to witness. Our position as the vaccine capital of the world was further bolstered and it is a matter of pride that the world is looking to India and Hyderabad,” he said.

KTR, as the minister is popularly known, claimed that Hyderabad’s life sciences ecosystem came forward and showed its fortitude in the last one year. He pointed out that when then US President Donald Trump requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supply of Remdesivir, they had to look towards Hyderabad.

He said the visit of foreign envoys from over 60 countries and that of the Prime Minister to Hyderabad’s Genome Valley is a testimony to the cluster’s significance in the global context.

KTR said Bharat Biotech’s remarkable contribution and commitment to develop India’s first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19 is laudable. He also termed the efforts of Biological E, Indian Immunologicals and others as very significant and laudable. In addition, Hetero pharma and Dr. Reddy’s are augmenting the global supply by manufacturing and distributing Russian vaccine Sputnik. Further, Aurobindo Pharma is building world-class vaccine manufacturing facility with a capacity of about 450 million doses.

He exuded confidence that significant global population will be immunised with vaccines produced in Hyderabad saying this is no small feat to accomplish.

He pointed out that the life sciences sector in the state has attracted investments to the tune of about Rs. 3,700 crores in last one year with an employment potential for around 14,000 people.

“A feather in our cap has been the approval of Umbralisib for cancer treatment. It is historic because this is the first drug ever discovered in India and approved by the US FDA. I am extremely proud that the discovery of Umbralisib is led from Incozen’s facility in Genome Valley.”

He recalled that Sai Life Sciences, a leading contract research organisation, inaugurated its new Research & Development centre at Genome Valley with an investment of about Rs. 400 crores. Syngene, which inaugurated its campus in Genome Valley during last BioAsia, doubled the scientist count to 225.

GVK Bio, another Hyderabad-based company focused on supporting global innovators, is also expanding rapidly and will be adding 600 new jobs this year in Hyderabad.

Granules India will invest about Rs. 400 crore to set up a facility with capacity to manufacture 10 billion units of finished dosages that will generate employment for about 1,600 persons. Laurus Labs is investing Rs. 300 crores to set up a formulation facility in Genome Valley with a capacity of 5 billion units.

Switzerland-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals, which announced its entry into Genome Valley previously, started operations last year.

A Canadian company called Jamp Pharmaceutical had announced investment in Genome Valley in 2018 and their state-of-the-art facility in Genome Valley is nearing completion. KTR will be inaugurating this facility next month.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is also establishing the country’s largest National Animal Resource facility for biomedical research in Genome Valley. This is expected to be inaugurated soon.

The Bio Asia inaugural saw signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government with Cytiva to set up a Biopharma scale up facility – B-Hub in Genome valley. As eight out of 10 top selling drugs globally today are biopharmaceuticals, B-Hub will help Telangana and India in accelerating the growth of biopharmaceutical sector. KTR was confident that Telangana will emerge the biopharmaceutical capital of India.

He said he was personally bullish about the medical devices sector. About 40 companies are establishing their manufacturing / R&D facilities at the Medical Devices Park at Sultanpur in Rangareddy district. Some of these companies have already started commercial production and many of them are lined up for commencement by end of this year.

The minister said global medical devices major Medtronic’s largest innovation and engineering center in Hyderabad will be inaugurated next month. The company last year announced one of their biggest investments – $170 million – globally r to establish the facility.

On the pharma front, KTR said the government remained committed to grounding the Hyderabad Pharma City project soon to support India’s pharma industry regain its leadership position in APIs and KSMs offering significant cost and value benefits.

“In addition, we are also working on several other exciting initiatives such as Digital Medicine Hub, Institute for Cell and Gene Therapy, Flow Chemistry Hub, a world class life sciences university, and many more to build strong foundations for the next generation opportunities and to support our aspirations,” he added.

Dr Satish Reddy said Telangana’s vision is to emerge as Asia’s pre-eminent innovation destination. “We also want to help improve public health infrastructure accelerate clinical research,” he added.

Jayesh Ranjan, secretary, industry, government of Telangana, said the 18th edition of Bio Asia was being held despite the prevailing situation. He noted that annual life sciences convention has evolved as pre-eminent global meeting for researchers, academic, industry, stratups and governments.

The two-day conference with the theme ‘move the needle’ is being held virtually. He said 30,000 participants have registered for the event, the highest in its history.


Man whose SUV with gelatin sticks was parked near Ambani home found dead




In an intriguing development, police have recovered the body of a Thane-based businessman whose stolen SUV with 20 gelatin sticks was found parked near Antilia, the iconic home of Reliance Industries Ltd. Chairman Mukesh Ambani, officials said here on Friday.

The body of Mansukh Hiren — who had reported his Scorpio SUV as stolen from north-east Mumbai earlier — was fished out of the marshes adjacent to the Thane Creek near Mumbra town.

Reported missing by his family, the police recovered his body around 10.30 a.m. on Friday from Reti Bunder Road near Thane Creek.

Tentatively suspecting it to be a suicide, the Naupada Police has registered an accident death report and is investigating the matter, said officials.

Hiren’s SUV was found on the afternoon of February 25, along with 20 gelatin sticks and a purported threat letter typewritten in broken English, sending shock waves through the country’s corporate and political circles.

The suspiciously parked SUV, which belonged to the deceased Hiren, was apparently left there in the wee hours of February 25 and was detected only after around 12 hours by some locals who alerted the Mumbai Police.

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FarEye acqui-hires logistics tech start-up PY Technology




Logistics management startup FarEye on Friday said that it has acqui-hired logistics technology startup PY Technology in a bid to scale customer implementation as well as incubate new ideas.

The financial transaction details were not disclosed.

PY Technology, earlier known as PRTouch, was founded by Jignesh Vasani in 2012.

He will be joining FarEye as Vice President, Professional Services, the company said.

Vasani is an entrepreneur and a leader with over 20 years of experience in building blocks aiming towards solving real-life problems.

“I would like to welcome Jignesh and his team on behalf of all of us in this exciting journey to empower brands and carriers globally to deliver better,” Kushal Nahata, CEO and Co-founder FarEye, said in a statement.

FarEye said an increase in online orders and brands building up direct-to-customer channels is accelerating demand that will drive the company’s projected growth of 2.4x in FY20-21, with the US being the fastest growing market for the company.

The company recently announced that in order to capitalise on the unprecedented demand from retailers and logistics and transportation organisations to scale their direct-to-home deliveries, it will hire 100 technology professionals in India and North America in 2021.

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Government plans to create world-class storage system




In an effort to strengthen post-harvest supply chain across the country and ensure better returns to the farmers in a big way, the central government is working on a comprehensive plan of creating a world class storage system and standardisation of warehouses complying with the requirements of the Warehousing Development and Regulation Authority (WDRA).

A sure and silent change is sweeping the country which is going to help the farmers in a big way and these changes will not only strengthen post-harvest supply chain but will also improve the returns to farmers in many ways, said sources in the Food Ministry.

Department of Food & Public Distribution has pushed for an ambitious plan through Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the development of about 100 silos with capacity of 35.875 LMT (Lakh Metric Tonnes), which will be road fed and will work on ‘Hub and Spoke’ model. A road map of the same is already in place and work has started in all sincerity, said the sources.

Hub and Spoke model will be efficient and complexities related to land acquisition for rail siding silos are bypassed since road fed silos, near to procurement areas will help in direct bulk grain procurement from farmers, reduced turn-around times for farmers and quick intake and offtake of food grains.

Incentives at various stages of the project have been incorporated in the bid documents for Hub and Spoke to attract private investment. These in-build incentives shall incentivise the Concessionaire to expedite project implementation in an efficient manner.

A world class storage system in the country would need standardisation of all the warehouses under various undertakings and an integrated warehouse management.

In an endeavour to ensure high standards of warehouse construction and maintenance, registration of all warehouses of Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and Food Corporation (FCI) with the WDRA has already commenced with the deadline of April 30 for completion of registration, said a senior official.

Around 161 CWC warehouses have already been registered and the remaining 178 will be done by March 31, the official added.

Registration fees, security deposit and net worth conditions have been reduced for warehouses and staggered slabs, linked to capacity introduced to promote registration for small farmers, cooperatives, small warehouses businesses etc.

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