India - a biotech growth catalyst

India is among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology in the world, with approximately 3% share in the global Biotechnology industry. India is also the leader in the global supply of DPT, BCG and measles vaccines.

The biotechnology industry in India comprises about 600+ core biotechnology companies, approximately 2600+ biotech startups, 50 BIRAC-supported incubators.

India has the second-highest number of US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA)-approved manufacturing plants outside the US and over 1,300 manufacturing plants compliant with World Health Organisation (WHO) Good Manufacturing Practices.

  • By 2025, the Indian Biotechnology industry is expected to reach $100 bn
  • By 2025, the contribution of the Indian biotechnology industry in the global biotechnology market is expected to grow to 19% from 3% in 2017

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

  • %

    Tax deduction on R&D expenditure

  • %

    Bio-pharma revenue share

  • %

    Bio-agri revenue share

  • %

    Expected CAGR (2016-22)


World's largest producer of recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine

BT Cotton

World's 2nd largest producer of BT Cotton


World's second highest number of USFDA approved plants

Industry Scenario

The Indian Biotechnology industry that was valued at $64 bn in 2019 will reach $150 bn target by 2024-25.

The sector is divided into five major segments- Bio-pharma, Bio-services, Bio-agri, Bio-industrial, and Bio-informatics. The biopharmaceutical sector accounts for the largest share of the biotech industry with a share of 64% of total revenues, followed by bio-agri with 14% market share (2019). Bio-services accounted for 18% of the Biotech industry as India is becoming a leading destination for clinical trials, contract research, and manufacturing activities, which is further fuelling the growth of the bio-services sector, while the remaining market is catered by bio-industrial (6%).

  • India currently has 5,48,719 sq. ft. of incubation space
  • 50 bio-incubators have been supported by BIRAC and established since 2014, with more planned across the country

India is also one of the first countries to have a department dedicated to Biotechnology. The Department of Biotechnology has also set up BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council). This not-for-profit an interface agency to strengthen and empower emerging biotechnology enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation.

Growth Drivers

  • Growing population

    India to become the world’s most populous country by 2030

  • Rising demand for treatments

    Increased insurance penetration and a growing burden of disease

  • Medical infrastructure facilities

    $200 bn expenditure planned on medical infrastructure over the next decade

  • Strong skilled manpower pool

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

  • Cost competitive manufacturing

    Development of life-science clusters builds collaborations between research institutes and the private sector

Major Investors

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Authored By:
Sagar Sengar

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