India - a biotech growth catalyst

India is among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology in the world, with approximately 3% share if the global biotechnology industry. The biotechnology industry in India is a key contributor to India’s vision of reaching a $ 5 Trillion Economy by 2024.

The biotechnology sector in India plays a key role in the global vaccine market, as the leader in the global supply of DPT, BCG, and measles vaccines, and is also a key contributor of 70% of WHO’s vaccines (essential Immunization Schedule). India also ranks 48th on the Global Innovation Index.

The biotech industry in India comprises over 5,000 companies (760 core companies and 4,240 start-ups) and biotech in India is aligned around five major segments: BioPharma, BioAgriculture, BioIndustrial, and combined segment of BioServices comprising of BioIT, CROs, and Research Services.

  • The Indian biotechnology industry is forecast to reach $150 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 16.4%
  • 12.3% year on year growth (FY20 to FY19)
  • Over 4237+ biotech startups, expected to reach 10,000 by 2025
  • 760+ core biotech companies, 200+ Biotech products
  • Rising contribution to national GDP (2.7% in 2020 against 2.2% in 2019)
  • India led the world into Biosimilar Innovation and  became the 1st country to approve and market a biosimilar in 2000 with over 98 biosimilars approved (till September 2019), which is the highest in the world


100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route for greenfield pharma.

100% FDI is allowed under the government route for brownfield pharma in upto 74% FDI is under automatic route and beyond 74% is under the government approval route.

FDI up to 100% is allowed under the automatic route for the manufacturing of medical devices.

For further details, please refer FDI Policy

  • Biotechnology Parks

  • Biotechnology Science Clusters

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    Expected CAGR (2022-2025)

World's largest producer of recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine

World's largest producer of BT Cotton with 35.7 million bales produced in FY19-20

World's highest number of USFDA approved plants outside the US.

Industry Scenario

The Indian Biotechnology industry that was valued at $70 bn in 2020 will reach $150 bn target by 2025.

The biotechnology industry in India is divided into five major segments: BioPharma, BioAgriculture, BioIndustrial, and the combined segment of BioServices comprising of BioIT, CROs, and Research Services.

The percentage share of the biotechnology segments is:

  • Bio-Pharmaceuticals: 62%
  • CRO/BioIT/Research: 15%
  • Bio-agriculture: 16%
  • Bio-Industrial: 7%

India is also one of the first countries to have a department dedicated to the Biotechnology industry. Moreover, the Department has also set up BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) which is a not-for-profit agency to strengthen and empower emerging Biotechnology enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation, by handholding them from ideation to the commercialization of their products/ technologies.


  • Growing population

    India to become the world’s most populous country by 2027

  • Rising public health expenditure

    Government expenditure on healthcare up to 1.6% in FY20 from 1.3% in FY16, with a target of 2.5% of the country's GDP by 2025

  • Capacity building initiatives

    Bolstered by the ‘National Biopharma Mission’, an Industry-Academia mission to skill the workforce

  • National Biomedical Resource Indigenisation Consortium

    Enabling India to become a net exporter of affordable diagnostics and testing kits, personal protection equipment (PPE) kits and vaccines through policy, funding and removal of infrastructure and regulatory bottlenecks.

  • Government acting as an enabler to improve EoDB

    Critical Policy initiatives such as 'Make in India’, ‘Startup India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ (boosting domestic manufacturing capacity).


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Asked Questions

Does BIRAC offer any capacity building support for researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs?

Yes, BIRAC conducts roadshows and Intellectual Property workshops to sensitize the target audiences about the BIRAC support for the entrepreneurs and relevance of intellectual property. It also provides a platform for the aspiring entrepreneurs to gain knowledge about effective grant writing skills from the experts in the domain.

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Does the Department offer any support to researchers in this sector? If yes, then at which stage of the research are they supported in?

Yes, the Department does offer support to researchers across all the stages of R&D - Ideation/ very early stage (SITARE, E-yuva), ideation to early stage (Biotechnology Ignition Grant Scheme (BIG)), ideation to late stage (Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI)), (Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP)), translation (Promoting Academic Research Conversion to Enterprise (PACE)) and for social innovation (Social Innovation programme for Products: Affordable & Relevant to Societal Health) etc. This support is usually through awards, grants for research, provision of enabling platform for different stakeholders to collaborate and innovate. Usually, a researcher submits his/her proposal to Biotechnology Industry Assistance Council (BIRAC) based on which the support is provided.

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Does BIRAC also support in any exchange programs of researchers with other countries?

Yes, BIRAC and Centre of Entrepreneurial Learning (CEL) of Judge Business School, University of Cambridge have initiated a partnership that enables five BIRAC supported applicants to take part in CfEL’s flagship intensive entrepreneurial boot-camp programme called “IGNITE”, which is aimed at providing academics (PhDs, post-docs and scientists) entrepreneurial opportunities to explore their innovative ideas and transform them into a business project. CfEL provides one week intense mentorship and training to the BIRAC supported candidates and for second week encourage them to interact and learn from the Cambridge’s entrepreneurial cluster.

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What is Grand Challenges India (GCI)?

Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development. In 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) signed an umbrella Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on mission-directed research and build Grand Challenges India to support health research and innovation which is the GCI. Under the GCI, proposals are called under various relevant topics on innovative solutions to help expand the pipeline of ideas to develop new preventions, therapies and interventions in this sector.

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Does BIRAC offer any support to start-ups?

The Bioincubators Nurturing Entrepreneurship for Scaling Technologies (BioNest) allows harnessing of the entrepreneurial potential of start-ups by providing access to infrastructure as well as mentoring and networking platforms that the start-ups could use during their fledgling days. So far BIRAC has supported twenty bioincubation centers across India on similar lines.

For relevant guidelines, access the link.

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