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Bio 2006 to focus on agri biotech

Our Bureau

Bangalore , Feb. 18

BIO 2006, the sixth annual biotechnology trade show, is returning in June this year with a focus on agri biotechnology, research outsourcing and exploring new global alliances.

The flagship event of June 7-9 comes even as the domestic biotech industry is racing towards a combined turnover of $1 billion (around Rs 440 crore) this fiscal. The organisers expect over 400 delegates, 125 exhibitors, 60 national and international speakers, over 20,000 business visitors from India and over 15 countries. The event is sponsored by the Karnataka Government and organised by its think-tank, the Vision Group on Biotechnology.

The European Union has confirmed that it would come in as the international partner, and a day would be dedicated to it, said Mr M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda, Principal Secretary, IT and Biotechnology. A delegation from the Netherlands is keen to explore business opportunities while the UK Trade and Investment and German agency Intec will also be present in force, he told a curtain raiser news conference on Friday.

"India is emerging as the R&D lab of the world. Clinical research and research process outsourcing (RPO) are becoming the core strength of India," said Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon CMD, who heads the Vision Group.

"Keeping this global trend in mind, the spotlight is on clinical research." The technical session will cover RPO, drug discovery and development, vaccines for the developing world, bioinformatics, intellectual property rights, portfolio management, human resource development, biotechnology and global alliances.

At a time when the country was facing the food shortage after the Green Revolution of the 1960s and resorting to wheat import, Ms Shaw said special focus would be on agri biotechnology, with a dedicated Agribiotech Day addressing issues of transgenic crops, regulatory issues, environmental concerns, biofuel, food biotech and nutraceuticals.

Mr Gowda said the work on the 100-acre biotech park near Whitefield has been awarded to National Building Construction Company and the park would be operational by the end of 2006. The state was getting two new biotech companies every month and had attracted VC funds of $100 million, the highest in Asia. Promotion of biofuels and stem cell activities were also on its agenda.

"Outsourcing of R&D has immense potential as 20 of the 70 commercial labs are in Karnataka. We look forward to making Bangalore and India a knowledge process outsourcing hub," he said.

The CSIR chief, Dr R.A. Mashelkar, will address the CEO conclave. A new addition will be a Poster Session meant to be a platform for young researchers.

With the exhibition area spread over 4,500, Bio 2006, would be the business platform for biotech companies, RPOs, bio suppliers and process engineering equipment companies, R&D institutions, biotechnology educational institutions, venture capital and financial institutions.

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