India - a biotech growth catalyst

India is among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology globally and 3rd largest biotechnology destination in the Asia Pacific region. In 2020, the Biotech industry reached a market size of $ 70.2 Bn, rising 12.3% from the previous year. The bioeconomy has observed almost a 95% increase in valuation over the period of five years, with the COVID-19 pandemic boosting it even further. The BioEconomy’s contribution to the national GDP has also grown steadily in the past years. While the BioEconomy contributed to 1.7% of the GDP, this share has grown to 2.7% in 2020.The sector is also making an increasing contribution towards national GDP and is a key part of India’s vision of reaching a $ 5 Trillion Economy by 2024.

India’s Biotech sector is categorised into Biopharmaceuticals, BioIndustrial, Bioagriculture, BioIT & BioServices. Within the biopharmaceuticals segment, India has developed into a prominent vaccine manufacturer globally, occupying a leading position in the supply DPT, BCG, and measles vaccines among others. India also leads in biosimilars, with one of the most biosimilars approved in the domestic market. It is estimated that the biosimilars industry in India will grow at CAGR of 22% to become $ 12 Bn by 2025. Within bio-services, India offers a strong capability in contract manufacturing, research and clinical trials, and is home to the most US FDA approved plants globally outside of the US.

The biotech industry in India comprises over 5,000 companies (760 core companies and 4,240 start-ups)6 and is home to a strong skilled resource pool due to the high number of science and technology graduates. India is also ranked #1 Global Innovation Index amongst Central & Southern Asia region.

  • Forecast to reach $150 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 16.4%
  • 12.3% year on year growth ((FY19 to FY20)
  • Over 5075+ biotech startups, expected to reach 10,000 by 2025
  • 760+ core biotech companies, 200+ Biotech products
  • 38.1% CAGR for Biotech startup growth over last seven Years.
  • 1Mn+ skilled biotech workforce


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

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  • xGrowth

    Over the last decade

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  • %

    Expected CAGR (2022-2025)

Leading global vaccine producer

World's largest producer of BT Cotton

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

Industry Scenario

The Indian Biotechnology industry that was valued at $70.2 bn in 2020 will reach $150 bn target by 2025.

The sector is poised for growth, fuelled by rising demand at both a domestic and global level. Domestic demand increases are fuelled by programmes such as Ayushman Bharat, the world’s largest government-sponsored healthcare insurance scheme, while overseas demand for Indian vaccines and biopharmaceuticals grows remains strong. India exports vaccines to over 150 countries and is a leading destination for contract manufacturing and clinical trials.

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. 

The percentage share of the biotechnology segments is:

•    Vaccine – 17.8%
•    BioIT/Healthcare Research – 15%
•    COVID Bioeconomy – 7.8%
•    Diagnostics/Medical Devices – 25.6%
•    BT Cotton – 14.4%
•    Biofertilizers/Biopesticides – 1.4%
•    Enzyme – 3.7%
•    Biofuels- 3.6%
•    Biologics/Therapeutics – 10.7%


  • Growing population

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

  • Rising public health expenditure

    Government expenditure on healthcare up to 2.1% of GDP in FY21-22 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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