Firing up the state’s biotechnology ambitions, the government
has roped in three biotech firms to establish ventures in
the state for commercializing Kerala’s rich medicinal
plant system for conducting research & development (R&D)
in the traditional ayurveda system.
is a big breakthrough for the state after establishing a special
office for Biotechnology recently for planning and executing
the state’s biotech plans and the total investment for
the three projects is estimated at Rs.100 crore, said Principal
Secretary (Industries), John Mathai. The first among the three
is a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangalore
– based Avesthagen for establishing a Rs 10 crore capital
base firm next week for commercializing the state’s
medicinal plant strengths.
state is also close to an agreement with a US-based biotech
firm for molecular based pharmaceutical research and another
with Bangalore-based Sami Labs for medicinal usage of cambodge
extract. “The cambodge (kudampulli in Malayalam) extract
is used for the treatment of leukemia and stomach ulcer. The
venture will also look at the commercial use of herbal and
spice extract in the medicines,” he said.
Vasudevan, special officer for BT said the state had a clear
cut plans for the biotech sector. The focus is on phyto-pharmaceuticals
segment, where the global market is estimated to be $14 to
20 billion and growing at six percent per annum, medicinal
botanicals/dietary supplements ($30-35 billion market), nutraceuticals
($10 billion market) and herbal raw material ($ 30 billion).
than talking about biotech in a general way, the state’s
plans to concentrate only in three to four areas where we
have natural advantages, he said. In the herbal medicines
segment, India’s export of $240 million is just five
percent of Chinese export of $5 billion.
Kerala is considered to be the home for ayurveda, we have
not been able to cash-in on the huge potential.” Vasudevan
services of institutes like Tropical Botanic Garden and Research
Institute (TBGRI), which is the biggest botanical garden in
Asia, will also be taken advantage of TBGRI maintains a 300
acre conservatory garden with 50,000 accessions belonging
to 12,000 tropical plant species and their genetic variants.
important aspect under the government’s biotech plans
will be the protection of intellectual property rights of
traditional system of healing.
have umpteen numbers of traditional healing systems and by
validating these systems, we will also be able to get much
higher value, benefiting the traditional healing communities
and the state as a whole,” he said.