Bio-Entrepreneurships and Bio-Startups in Odisha

Bio-Ecosystem has been a recent scenario in Odisha, although biotech is a high growth national/international industry with various sub-sector businesses
Bio-Entrepreneurships and Bio-Startups in Odisha
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CEO, KIIT-TBI; Director, KSBT; Director, R&D, KIIT U, Founder/CEO, Prantae, Intrapreneur & Founder, BioTechNet, USA,
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Entrepreneuring is not new to Odisha.  Entrepreneurship has roots in Odisha during the mid-1960s.  Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ltd was established in 1964.  Orissa Young Entrepreneurs Association (OYEA, Industrial Estate, Cuttack) was set up during 1976.  However, Biotechnology entrepreneurship, biotech entrepreneurship, bioentrepreneurship, life science entrepreneurship, bio ventures, bio-enterprises and bio startups are very recent and emerging developments in Odisha,

a developing State in India.  Entrepreneurship in Odisha in traditional sectors and technology-based entrepreneurship (TBE) are going through new changes.  BioEntrepreneurship has been difficult in Odisha because the biotech sector is knowledge, technology and capital intensive, needs long gestation and high speciality skill sets.

Ecosystem in Odisha

Odisha has a sound institutional cluster across the State in bioscience, biotech, medical, agriculture education and research.  However, applied bioscience through tech transfer, licensing, innovation and new product have been the biggest gap areas related to entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship sector has not become an established education, business and industrial structure within Odisha. Entrepreneurology is not yet a part of the mainstream professional career culture in Odisha’s young generation.  Odisha produces about 1000 per year HR (bio graduates, post-graduates, doctorates and post-doctorates).

Bio-Ecosystem in Odisha

Bio-Ecosystem has been a recent scenario in Odisha, although biotech is a high growth national/international industry with various sub-sector businesses.  India is playing a visible role in the global biotech industry sub-sectors. Odisha can benefit by investing and developing the biotech industry subsectors in human healthcare, vet biotech, agri-biotech/GM Seeds, fishery, biominerals, bioenergy and allied areas.  Odisha, a reemerging & redeveloping the State of India should utilize the Make In Odisha platform and bio ventures programs for BioEntrepreneurship and BioIndustry sector development. The Indian biotech industry revenue is estimated at about 4per cent (US$10 billion, all sub-sectors, 2018) of the global biotech industry revenue (US$250 billion, all sub-sectors, 2018).  While India is preparing the country for an emerging National BioEconomy, Odisha should plan to be a part of the emerging Indian BioEconomy.

Different Initiatives

Make In Odisha (MIO, Nov 11-15, 2018), the biennial business conclave was organized by Odisha Govt in partnership with Japan (country partner), FICCI (knowledge partner) and industry sponsors.  Join the Juggernaut (Odisha State), Odisha-New Opportunities, I am Odisha, Make In Odisha, Invest Odisha, Startup Odisha, MSME Odisha, Skill Odisha were the branding slogans/campaigns promoted by the Odisha Govt.  MIO was led by Sanjeev Chopra (PS, Industries Dept, CMD, IPICOL, Head-Invest Odisha). MIO had included the biotech session with the theme – Opportunities & Investments in Biotech Sector in Odisha. An updated Odisha Biotech Policy 2018 coordinated by the former DST secretary GB Dhal was released by the state govt during the event.  (https://investodisha.gov.in/biotechnology-policy/). The biotech session had a focus on bio-development. The GoO Depts (S&T, Industries), GoI Depts (BIRAC, BT & S&T), panelists, bio-entrepreneurs, eminent scientists, experts and startups participated in the event. Dr G. Padmanaban (Sr, Advisor, BIRAC), gave the keynote address. GoO’s DST Secretary,  BJ Sharma, MSME Dept ACS LN Gupta, Startup Odisha Secretariat CEO, Samarendra Sahu, and Industries Dept have drafted new road maps and collaborating with incubators, central govt agencies, nodal institutes, mentor networks and prospective entrepreneurs. Some earlier initiatives were during 2005 when the Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) CEO, Dr Purnima Sharma had organized the very first biotech investment symposium in BBSR in cooperation with the GoO.   Sam Pitroda (Cabinet Rank GoO Technology Advisor, 2016) and biotech Committee had drafted Odisha: Applied Biotech Strategy and Action Plan.

Visible Results

As per the Dec 2018 startup ranking by DIPP, GoI, Odisha has been recognized as the Champion State, Top State & Top Performer for startup policy inception and emerging incubation hub.  During 2015 World Bank ranked Bhubaneswar (Odisha) as one of the best places to do business in India.

KIIT-TBI/BioIncubator (http://www.kiitincubator.in/Bbsr) has so far nurtured 65 bio startups, out of which 12 graduated and currently has 47 incubators.  About 25 new bio startups are expected to join by mid-2019. Modern incubator space of 50000 square feet has been built by KIIT-TBI.

Other institutional incubators, agro/food parks and marine bioparks are planned in Odisha.

Odisha Biotech Park Private Limited (Andharua, near Bbsr) is an SPV-PPP (INR 100 crore project) with the GoO is being set up by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad.  The biopark has a master plan consisting of 65 Acre of total land area (40-acre biotech corridor, 14.86-acre commercial corridor, 9.75-acre bio-incubator). During the biotech session of MIO, Dr Krishna Ella (Chairman, OBPPL and Bharat) announced Bharat to invest Rs 500 crore in a vaccine manufacturing plant to be built in the BioPark.  This BioPark would host anchor firms, startups and would attract investor NRIs.

GoI’s BIRAC, DBT & DST have largely supported the Odisha bio startup programs through incubator grants, innovation, r&d soft money fundings and bioentrepreneurship training.  The commercial biotech business revenue from Odisha is negligible. While Odisha has attracted high figure investments in other sectors such as mining, metals, agriculture, public institutions, IT, healthcare and infrastructure, the State has so far not been able to attract biotechnology-oriented private sector investment.  The State does not have CGMP facilities for highly regulated biotech recombinant product or biogenerics manufacturing.

Private sector bioinvest in Odisha needs effective promotion and marketing by the stakeholders to attract internal/external investors.

Registered Firms Working the Field of Bio-Technology in Odisha

About two dozen names of bio-related firms (health, agri) are registered in Odisha, without any functional activity.  Both bioentrepreneurship/bioindustry sectors are biggest challenges for Odisha. Existing bio firms are producing reagents, diagnostics/biomarkers (pre-clinical), bio-ayurvedic, natural product bio-ingredients, biogas and bio-fertilizers.  Odisha is about a quarter century behind the top 5 bio-clusters based in the other Indian States. One of the biggest gap areas for Odisha biotech industries is tech transfer, new product development and post-regulatory commercialization. Odisha needs high speciality skills in commercial biotechnologies including biomanufacturing.

However, Odisha State offers emerging opportunities in biomanufacturing (biogenerics, vaccines, biodiagnostics, bioenergy, herbals, bio-agro, biofertilizers, bioinformatics services, natural products bioprocessing and bio-aqua.  Specialized syndicated biotech funds and bioindustry trade organization can help develop the new bioindustry in Odisha. The GoI/GoO may consider privatizing the ODCL joint-venture to convert the public sector company to manufacture high-value bio-pharma products.  The GoO may consider privatizing the OBPI to develop a larger vet vaccine company.

Odisha bioentrepreneurs and bio startups may consider to initially start up with low tech biotech, commodity biotech, copycat innovations, natural resources products bioingredients, and related scale up biomanufacturing and with a long term mission of r&d/technology-driven bio entrepreneurship.

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