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This century belongs to biology: Ambani

Our Bureau

Pune , Feb. 4

WITH biotechnology being touted as the next big industry, the first facility for education and research in biotechnology in rural India, the Vidya Pratishthan School of Biotechnology (VSBT) was inaugurated by Mr Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd, at Baramati.

Mr Ambani said that the VSBT initiative had come in at the appropriate time as the 21st century belongs to biology. He said biology has discovered the order of life or `genome' and would lead to the transformation of life. He said biotechnology was in full flow and about 130 biopharmaceutical products were already in the market and about 350 under research and test conditions.

Mr Ambani said that India had the potential to become a global force to reckon with in the field of biotechnology but certain steps had to be kept in focus. He said the country must leverage the cost-volume trade-off so typical of the Indian market while pointing out that the research cost was about one-third of the global cost and development cost was also lower compared to the global market. He said innovation in research and development is of utmost necessity.

Mr Ambani added that the campus of VSBT would be given broadband connectivity within 60 days.

Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon Ltd, said that Biocon as an initiative for VSBT would be instituting a visiting faculty chair to enable leading global faculty to visit the campus and interact with the students. For this an amount of Rs 5 lakh has been earmarked. It would also be setting up an industry-sponsored project for students, again at Rs 5 lakh per year.

Ms Shaw said biotechnology was the next big economic growth of the country and it was important to produce manpower required by the industry. She pointed out that the industry must also create job opportunities for these graduating students and provide entrepreneurial opportunities.

Dr Sushma Chaphalkar, Chief Coordinator the VSBT, said the University of Pune had already granted the status of recognised research lab to VSBT for conducting the research work required during the Ph.D programmes.

The VSBT has invested Rs 10 crore in creating the laboratory set-up and has five laboratories for different sciences related to biotechnology such as molecular biology, tissue culture (plants and animals), microbiology, biochemistry and bio-informatics.

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