Government officials and experts deliberated on enhancing the culture of research in India on the concluding day of Global Innovation Summit-2021 organised by IPA between November 18 and November 19, 2021. It was collectively echoed during the two-day summit that innovation will propel Indian pharmaceutical industry on path to become global leader with key growth drivers like R&D, Partnership and Policy.
The two-day Global Innovation Summit -2021 organised by India’s largest industry body, the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (www.IPA-India.org) successfully concluded with industry leaders from across domestic and global pharma industries, policy makers, investors and researchers unanimously agreeing that innovation will act as the backbone for propelling the Indian pharmaceutical industry into becoming the global leader and further committed to enhancing its innovation ecosystem. The theme of the Global Innovation Summit 2021 was titled “Discover in India: Accelerating the innovation journey of the Indian life sciences industry”.
On the occasion, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog (formerly Planning Commission), called upon the pharma industry leaders to collaborate towards building a much more robust and thriving innovation ecosystem in a special address on ‘Building Innovation Ecosystem in India’.
He said, “The government is focused on enhancing the culture of research in India, strengthening industry academic collaboration, providing world class facilities to researchers and scientists and simplifying regulatory processes to boost R&D and innovation in the sector. To position Indian pharma on the top in the global landscape, it is crucial to move towards research, innovation and emerging technologies. There is now an evident need to focus our efforts on R&D and innovation in emerging technologies in the pharmaceutical sector. This is the right time to shift from ‘Make in India to ‘Discover & Innovate in India’.”
Amitabh Kant further added, “The government is focused on enhancing the culture of research in India, strengthening industry academic collaboration, providing world class facilities to researchers and scientists and simplifying regulatory processes to boost R&D and innovation in the sector. To position Indian pharma on the top in the global landscape, it is crucial to move towards research, innovation and emerging technologies.”
Adding to this Prof. Arvind Sahay, MN Vora Chair in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, IIM Ahmedabad in his special address on ‘Innovation Index and Framework for Innovation Ecosystem’ said, “As India is setting off on the journey to enhance R&D capability and output, it is essential to track performance on an ongoing basis. Different stakeholders need to come together and in order to satisfy sustainable development goals, we have set for ourselves an ‘innovation index’ which will become a part of monitoring mechanisms in line with the R&D policy.
In a panel discussion featuring some of the prominent CEOs of the industry and moderated by Gautam Kumra, Chairman of McKinsey’s offices in Asia, McKinsey and Co., the panellists shared valuable insights on creating a more enabling environment for expansion of innovation in the pharmaceutical sector.
Chris Viehbacher, Founding Partner, Gurnet Point Capital said, “Innovation is going to increase, and it certainly has over the last decade. As you unlock doors into innovation, you also open other pathways. The amount of capital being pumped in and the breadth of discovery happening will only increase. In addition to the unmet needs, innovation is extremely important for economic development in any country. With innovation a country can build intellectual capital that can help to solve societal problems.”
Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director at Sun Pharmaceutical Industries said, “We have a collective aspiration to become relevant in innovative products space. As we move beyond generics and innovative products become successful it will lead to increase in investment and prioritisation. We need to learn to take higher levels of risk and genuinely invest in businesses which have higher level of research. Products developed in India will be compared with the best products developed across the world. The next 10 years are going to be far more productive for the industry. Our ability to grow our business in the future is linked with our ability to succeed in innovation.”
Glenn Saldanha, Managing Director, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd said, “Innovation is a global play, and we should try to develop products that are best in the world and can beat current standard of care on various therapies. We can draw learnings from western countries to upskill our talent and learn in the near term. With transformation efforts and government support, the next 10 years for India look very exciting.”
Nilesh Gupta, Managing Director, Lupin said, “The Indian pharma industry has made the right choices till now and has become ‘the pharmacy’. If India wants to stay relevant in the pharma space, we must be innovative. We should be running the innovation story at two levels, globally and in India. It is important to improve regulatory capabilities, supportive policies and incentives as well as talent acquisition.”
Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Cadilla Healthcare said, “India needs a very high level of commitment to innovation and the pandemic has proved this time and again. We need to create a support system to support the innovation ecosystem in India. With innovation we can go to the next level of success. It is very important for Indian companies to innovate and find markets where they can significantly grow from where they stand today and achieve the goal of reaching USD 130 $ by 2030.”
Samina Hamied, Vice President IPA & Vice Chairperson, Cipla said, “Necessity is the mother of invention. We saw through the pandemic how quickly companies innovated in getting products and vaccine to the market That is a true test of innovation going forward. To build a culture of innovation there has to be a culture of collaboration as we move up the value chain. There is a lot of scope in healthcare innovation and India can be a front runner. The R&D policy streamlines regulatory processes, creates an environment for funding and incentive for innovation. Moreover, use of technology is also necessary in creating a single window from development to regulatory approvals that streamlines all the steps across the drug development process. India has incredible brain capacity; we need to focus on integration of this capacity in building the innovation ecosystem.”
Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said, “Innovation will accelerate because of the shift in technologies like digital therapeutics, the cell and gene therapy and holistic treatment. I believe India to be in the top 3 destinations of the world in the pharma and healthcare industry while attracting the best of the talent, work on cutting edge technology and providing access to affordable medicines. Funding, industry – academia linkages and collaboration between various stakeholders becomes very important for building an ecosystem. To be on the global scale, government must play a role in providing essential funding to the pharma industry. We can all look at the IT industry and draw a parallel. The government took all the required steps like tax breaks, changing of IPO requirements and gave them many other breaks. The pharma industry also deserves more because the value it can deliver will be more significant than the IT industry.
The summit also featured a showcase event on ‘Grand Innovation Challenge’ moderated by Anirudh Roy Popli, Partner, McKinsey & Co., Leader of McKinsey’s India Life Sciences R&D; a panel discussion on ‘Promoting academic – industry collaboration’ moderated by Dr Y K Gupta- President AIIMS Bhopal and AIIMS; Jammu. Andrew Plump, President, R&D, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and Werner Lanthaler, CEO, Evotec SE participated in a special address on ‘Experience Sharing Session’. The concluding session featured the closing address by S Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP), final remarks by Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Cadilla Healthcare and vote of thanks by Sudarshan Jain, Secretary General, IPA.
In the special addresses made by experts on ‘Policy Thrust for Innovation’ on during the summit, S Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) had reiterated the need to increase attention on R&D and innovation to ensure access to quality and affordable pricing. “Indian pharma supplies 22% generics and is the second largest exporter of Ayurveda medicines. The pharma sector in India needs to come out of its comfort zone and adopt innovation as a driving feature of its business strategies,” she said.
Prof. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India said, “India has the capacity to develop new drugs both in biologics and biosimilars and this was amply demonstrated by the Covid-19 drugs which enhanced advancement in India to understand human genetics and develop new drugs.”
Dr Vinod Paul, member, NITI Aayog also highlighted the fact that the Indian pharma sector needs to be the discoverer of solutions and new drugs, medicines & biotechnologies. “The industry should be ready to take risk just the way the Covid-19 journey was associated with risk taking behaviour, like developing new drugs and vaccines in very short and limited time. Investments were made by the government and industry and regulatory pathways were eased out,” he said.
Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon who moderated the panel discussion on ‘Creating Regulatory Ecosystem to Support Innovation’ said, “There is a constant need for dialogue and a collaborative approach – be it to further an enabling environment for innovation or drug pricing, especially affordable innovation.”
Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories moderating the panel discussion on ‘Funding for Innovation & R&D’ said, “In order to create an enabling environment for innovation, the whole ecosystem needs to come together, only one unit can’t usher in any change. Our scientists need to be able to work on progressive ideas without needing to worry about complex regulations and funding so we can achieve even greater heights in further discovery and innovations.”
Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) represents 24 research based national pharmaceutical companies. Collectively, IPA companies account for over 85 per cent of the private sector investment in pharmaceutical research and development. They contribute more than 80 per cent of the country’s exports of drugs and pharmaceuticals and service over 57 per cent of the domestic market.
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