Venture capital and tax breaks essential for the pharmaceutical industry to accelerate innovation

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The importance of venture capital to scale up innovation, the need for tax breaks on R&D investments as well as harmonization of the regulatory regime, were highlighted by pharmaceutical industry leaders at BioAsia Friday.

Taking advantage of the forum dedicated to the life sciences sector, the leaders also highlighted how the government could play a major role in helping the industry and in doing so make India an innovator for the world.

Speaking at a panel discussion on “Drug R&D: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”, Biocon Group Executive Chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw called for a patent box tax regime in which tax benefits are allowed on patent income. “Many countries around the world have a ten-year tax regime of 10% for patent boxes. If this can be done, India would invest heavily in patent culture and patent-driven innovation, which is really the need of the hour,” she said, adding that the link between the university and industry should also be strengthened.

The president of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Satish Reddy, said the level of investment required to discover new chemical entities is very high. This is not something industry can do alone, government must also step in. From collaboration with academic institutions, providing incentives to industry, to direct financial support in certain areas, there are a host of things the government can extend its support, he said. .

The Secretary of the Center’s Department of Science and Technology, S. Chandrashekhar, said between the Department of Biotechnology and the DST, there have been several calls for early discovery where “we are funding academic institutions in partnership with the industry”.

“We are now trying to build an ecosystem with service industries like CROs, pharmaceutical companies like Dr. Reddy’s and Biocon and the government…if we can partner up, we believe India can jump into this very soon. innovation.” The DST is likely to launch some mega programs in the field of innovation to make India self-sufficient in the generic drugs sector.

The Joint Secretary (Policy, Medical Device, Pharma Bureau) of the Department of Pharmaceuticals listed the various initiatives of the Center, including encouraging public-private collaboration. The department has published a draft R&D policy which aims to create an ecosystem that can encourage venture capital investment or CSR funding for pharmaceutical innovation.

During another panel discussion on “Challenges of building an innovation engine in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sectors”, Satakarni Makkapati, President and Head of Biologicals Division of Aurobindo Pharma, said that the Risk appetite and a dynamic funding model are essential for innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

Agreeing that risk appetite is necessary, CSIR-CCMB Director Vinay Nandicoori stressed the importance of building strong teams, collaboration and well-defined goals.

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