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Karnataka attracts $ 400 million investment in Biotech

Wednesday, April 20 2005 -

Bangalore: Karnataka has attracted 18 new Biotechnology firms and investments of $ 400 million (Rs 1800 crore), including Rs 750 crore from India's biggest biotech firm Biocon, in the last 12 months.

"Last year 18 new firms set up shop in Bangalore. We have received investments of $ 400 million, which includes Rs 750 crore from Biocon as part of their expansion plans," Karnataka IT and BT Secretary M K Shankaralinge Gowda told reporters in Bangalore last night (Apr 19, 2005) at a curtain raiser for the Bangalore Bio 2005, the fifth edition of the annual Biotech event.

118 of the 128 biotechnology companies - both Agro and Parma - in Karnataka are located in Bangalore, he said, adding, biotech exports from the State is expected to be about $ 500 million in 2004-05. Gowda said some of the firms who set up shop last year include US-based Invetrigen and Accacia Serum, besides India's Molecular Cellular Research.

"The growth rate is about 50 per cent to 60 per cent in the biotech industry. In general you can expect pretty good growth as the base is less," Karnataka Taskforce on Biotechnology Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said.

She said global firms were looking at India as R&D hub for their operations and Bangalore was the first choice.

"Lot of companies look at this part of the world for R&D outsourcing and their first choice is Bangalore," Shaw said.

About 110 firms are taking part in Bangalore Bio to begin on April 22, with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar inaugurating the event.

15 countries, including the UK and US are taking part in the three-day event, besides nine States with presence of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss will be the chief guest.

About 500 delegates and 20,000 business visitors will take part in the event, billed as India's biggest biotech show.

George Atkinson, science and technology advisor to the secretary of state, USA and Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner are among the top speakers in the show, besides top DBT, CSIR and ICMR officials.

Gowda said the construction work on Bangalore Helix, the biotech park would begin in June, with the campus of Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) and Centre for Human Genetics at the site, while tenders would be called for the commercial space at the park, to be set up near the electronics city.

He said the State has provided Rs 11.5 crore for the park while the Centre has released Rs 15 crore, which will be spent on completing the Bangalore Helix in 18 months.

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