Growing at an average rate of about 20 per cent, India’s biotech industry comprising biopharmaceuticals, bioservices, bioagriculture, bioindustry and bioinformatics could reach the $7-billion mark by FY15.

The biotechnology industry in India, comprising about 400 companies, has grown three-fold in the last five years to reach $4 billion in FY13, a study conducted by Assocham said.

Biopharma is the largest sector contributing about 62 per cent of the total revenue followed by bioservices (18 per cent), bioagri (15 per cent), bioindustry (four per cent), while bioinformatics is still at a nascent stage contributing just about one per cent of the total revenue, it said.

With revenue generation to the tune of over Rs 12,600 crore, the biopharma sector comprises vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

India has emerged as a leading destination for clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing activities owing to the growth in the bioservices sector, which accounts for revenue generation worth about Rs 3,800 crore.

"Increasing investments, outsourcing activities and exports are the key drivers for growth in India’s biotech sector,'' said DS Rawat, Secretary General of Assocham.

``Biotechnology is a capital intensive sector with a long gestation period for returns. Hence, it is important to provide an appropriate enabling environment such as incentives, infrastructure and funding models so as to make the industry sustainable, one such model is through lifesciences park or biotech clusters,'' he added.

However, dearth of trained manpower is a key challenge particularly in the area critical for the success of discovery programmes. India is strong in informatics and chemistry but still needs personnel in medicinal chemistry, vitro biology and efficacy related animal models, the study pointed out.