To facilitate cooperation related to developments in critical and emerging technologies including biotechnology,
The Quad set up a critical and emerging technology working group in 2021.
The establishment of a Quad-led biomanufacturing hub in India will enhance this cooperation.
The Quad, consisting of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, established a Critical and
Emerging Technology Working Group in March 2021 to foster cooperation and explore opportunities in critical and emerging technologies, including biotechnology.
However, the potential for Quad collaboration in biotechnology remains largely untapped.
The establishment of a Quad-led biomanufacturing hub in India, which would provide the necessary impetus to enhance cooperation in
this field, has been proposed.
The idea has been thoroughly examined by researchers at the Australian National University and holds great promise for the Quad nations.
What is Bio-Manufacturing?
Biomanufacturing uses living systems, particularly microorganisms and cell cultures, to produce molecules and materials on a commercial scale.
It has the potential to transform the global industrial system, with up to 60% of physical inputs to the global economy expected to be producible using this technology.
Many countries, including the US and China, recognize the need to optimize this ecosystem and have designed specific policies to shape their bio-economies.
India’s National Biotechnology Development Strategy envisions the country as a “Global Biomanufacturing Hub” by 2025. As the strategy sets the target of $100 billion for the hub, this cannot be achieved without external support.
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Strengthening Physical Infrastructure
India aims to become a leading biomanufacturing hub by increasing fermentation capacity tenfold to 10 million liters within the next three to five years.
China has also expressed its intention to capture this market, similar to its domination of small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
Concerns about China’s dominance have prompted India to launch a production-linked incentive scheme that
Allocates $2 billion to the pharmaceutical sector for the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, APIs, key starting materials, and related products.
However, dependence on China in the biomanufacturing sector would be detrimental to both India and the Quad.
The proposed hub can facilitate technology transfer, connect investors, and establish a biomanufacturing fund administered through the Quad to support India’s efforts in reducing dependency on China.
Recent policy changes in India allow for the establishment of foreign universities and encourage scholar exchange programs.
Training should also focus on commercializing research and development, a common challenge for non-U.S. countries within the Quad.
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What should be India’s Strategy?
Improvement in workforce quality: Permanent training facilities with focus on commercializing research and development. Recent policy changes in India allow the establishment of foreign universities and can encourage scholar exchange programmes.
Scheme to check China’s dominance: India must formulate a scheme like the production-linked incentive scheme that allocated $2 billion to the pharmaceutical sector to make biopharmaceuticals, APIs, key starting materials, and related products.
- The Quad should establish a biomanufacturing hub in India to benefit from the country’s economic potential and address supply-chain vulnerabilities.
- The proposed hub has the potential to transform India into a leading player in the field of biomanufacturing and to help the Quad to compete in this key area.
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