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22nd May 2023 (7 Topics)

India as a Quad-led bio-manufacturing hub

Context:

In March 2021, the Quad set up a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group to facilitate cooperation, monitor trends, and scout for opportunities related to developments in critical and emerging technologies that included biotechnology.

The Quad and complementary strengths

  • Bio-manufacturing hub: Quad should establish a bio-manufacturing hub in India to benefit from the country’s economic potential and address supply-chain vulnerabilities.
  • Quality of research: India is among the top performers in the field of bio-manufacturing in both the quality of research output and in the share among research publications. 
  • Low-cost bio-manufacturing: India also has significant potential in low-cost bio-manufacturing. The cost of manufacturing in India is around 33% lower when compared to that in the U.S.

Strengthening physical infrastructure

  • Chinese intensions: China has also expressed its intention to capture this market, similar to how it dominated small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). 
  • Chinese dominance: Concerns about China’s dominance in APIs pushed India to launch a production-linked incentive scheme that allocated $2 billion to the pharmaceutical sector to make biopharmaceuticals, APIs, key starting materials, and related products.
  • Reducing dependence: Dependence in the bio-manufacturing sector will be detrimental to both India and the Quad. The proposed hub can help facilitate technology transfer, connect investors, and establish a bio-manufacturing fund.
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