Challenges in Biotechnology and the Way Forward Biotechnologists must be able to handle the society and address the controversial aspects of bringing a technology or a product in use

By Muthu Singaram

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Biotechnology in today's world plays a major role in varied disciplines. It is a broad domain which comprises of a bundle of technologies that operates the natural idle things into modified outcomes with its increased potential and sustainable return of products. The goals of biotechnology are endless, it is been employed for the benefit of humans and environment with corresponding development in scientific research and technological development. The methods and techniques in biotechnology are being practiced in various fields such as food, chemical, industrial, medical, marine, pharmaceutical, nano-science, biomedical, etc..

Challenges in Developing a New Product

Developing a new product or altering an existing one through biotechnologies encounters various difficulties. Designing and successfully getting out the desired product in laboratory level is the first level of accomplishment. Next is to produce the product in pilot scale and to analyze statistical study on the industrial framework. On successful yielding and fabrication of the bio-modified product and their aimed application depends on, forecasting and governing the challenges of biotechnology marketing.

Challenges in Marketing a New Product

Time is the major obstacle for the invention of a new product or a novel product from basic concepts. The time taken for an idea to be proved, prototyped and developed into beneficial invention also determines the success of the product as there are multiple competitors existing in the market. The market is the influencer of the success of the product. The product should satisfy the needs of the customer and meet current needs of technology. Technology is the base for building a product. Technology skills sets determine the quality of the product. Skills required to study and develop a new product is important Skilled people are in high demand for their knowledge and hands-on expertise. Funding plays a crucial role in bringing the invention from labs to the market users Its role is an essential part of each footstep of a developing product, throughout their life cycle. This indirectly determines the timeline of the product.

Policy Challenges

The innovative product designed must compete with the increasing rate of new products in the market, this forces the researchers to develop products with high standards in each of modelling and satisfying the needs of the customers. A profitable and a novel product developed should be protected and governed by intellectual property rights. Thus the state of art or the idea which yields attention and rules the economy of the market is been legally claimed by the innovator.

Applications of Biotechnology

Biotechnology has also created various advancements in plant and agri-biotechnology in preserving rare species, mutating species of commercial importance, and plays a major role in credentials to find the medical assessment thereby formulating naturopathic drugs. A broad venture in Animal biotechnology succours us to lead R&D. It paves the way for new reproduction techniques in animals and humans and explains the importance and usage of animal products and its presence in Biodiversity. In Medicinal Science, Biotechnology plays a critical role in immunotherapies, regeneration of organs, remedies for various neural disorders etc. Endeavors in biomedical technology largely reinforce evolution in R&D. Technology developed for pollution is of immense value to the environment. Biotechnology employs multi-disciplinary efforts in the field of Physical sciences and Bioinformatics to analyzing, handling and studying big data for framing up new innovations for the benefit of the humans and our ecosystem.

Biotechnology is still in its infancy to find the answers of nature, understand the power beyond science, such as hydrogen and oxygen giving us water. Biotechnology has its own advantage and disadvantage Biotechnologists must be able to handle the society and address the controversial aspects of bringing a technology or a product in use.

In conclusion, Biotechnology is a great area but requires time, funding and above all skills.

Muthu Singaram

Founder, VibaZone (Canada, India and Malaysia) and CEO, HTIC-MedTech Incubator, IIT Madras

Singaram has been working with entrepreneurs, companies, individuals, government organizations, regional ministries in the areas of entrepreneurship, technology incubation, technology acceleration , innovation, technology transfer and leadership for more than 25 years.

He has conducted workshops for technology transfer managers in the regions to enable them to carry out technology transfer.

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