THE NEW BIOLOGY OF 21ST CENTURY.
CAN INDIA INNOVATE IN THESE INTERESTING TIMES?. GENOMICS TO RESCUE??.
THE MAKE IN INDIA FUTURISTIC PLANS OF NEW INDIA.
Prof Dr Nirmalya Kumar, A Kellogs Business School-NorthWestern Univ. faculty, (see London Business of Economics-Talk-You Tube) in his famous 2012 TEDx talk proposed that India innovates invisibly in all walks of Business including Pharma and Biotech out of his research findings. We embarked on a natural journey in our Company by doing a global foray on how we are perceived by the foreign MNC firms and Smaller firms in USA which are in a developed world, that is North American Soil, European Union and Japan. US, Germany and Japan are power centers of Innovation and China is now emerging a distant second but can India survive this Global peer competition.
Our experience has been that Modern Biology broken down as academic research and Translational sciences poses two different Challenges for India. Indian Academia is not fine tuned to churn out Quality PhDs to research and develop Translational Sciences like Modern OMICS and Integrated OMICS. Increasingly in MNC Pharmas in West and smaller Biotech firms serve as discovery nerve centers, which get acquired over a period of time or the Regeneron and Sanofi-France type of Collaboration that lead to like Billion dollar blockbusters like Eyelea.
Indian Experience has been after several billion dollars of Investment in Pharma and Biotech, No new NCE or NBE have emerged in the forefront of Global Drug Discovery Value Chain.
Yet, do not discount. Contract Research Firms in India who have embarked on Preclinical development, and Services in Chemistry and Biology have nowhere to go next in India except to Innovate. The drug companies in India have reached a saturation stage in generics, rather than fighting peers in the west on Patents, They better start to Innovate. Thus as Dr Nirmalya Kumar points out, for our test case Biotech in India is at a Cross roads for Innovative ideas.
Make in India Programs from Indian soil have nurtured many Biotech Programs, but still remain nascent. What is then the solution. Tech parks, Industrial Collaborations, ecosystems like Silicon Valley. In a notable book by Gary Pisano Harvard Professor of Business of Biotech, says that he sees biotech has nobody has seen as a Vibrant and Most innovative industry in the world. Yet in 40 years, it has hardly taken shape in the whole world. In his famous book Science business, he says if you remove the top performers in term of revenues of the publicly listed companies in the America, rest are bleeding.
That tells you something to think about. Here in India Professors hardly come out of their shells to start New ventures in Biotech, barring a few exceptions. India to become a Global Biotech enterprising country first needs global research hubs like USA. We should have State and Central Science institutions which will innovate just expecting nothing out of it, as President Obama puts it in 150 years of celebration function of NAS, USA., we will innovate like nobody and 50 years down the lane that basic fundamental research will start to yield Tesla's of Biotech.
In Genomics India is a laggard. Genomics is a Purely a fundamental science and NIH has initiated an Integrated OMICS institute. Without OMICS doing drug discovery today is like walking without legs. Having said that, Indian OMICS enterprises are just yet sequence hubs. While discovery programs are just Reengineering shops, OMICS programs are just to Sequence and Bioinformation boutiques squander precious human resources. We have really lagged behind China and South Korea who have taken lead in forming large Enterprises like Beijing Genome Institute, and other well known companies like Macrogen. While we tend to jump at Bioinformatics and Genomics as an opportunity without proper business models, since 1997 in India ever since Dr V N Balaji, the authors mentor from Monsanto arrived in India, less have viable models exceptions like medgenome may emerge. An Academic driven by values Dr. M C Raja questions, no one has got global models, he opines. Barring few enviable firms in india, like Genotypic Technologies a homegrown firm in Bangalore, the authors Junior from PSG College in Coimbatore, India., Technopreneurs are outliers here. In USA Foundation Medicine tied up with Pfizer in broad terms, Illumina is multi billion dollar company now, Nanopore is just around the corner, PACBio is shaping up, 10X Genomics is all set to go also, and Cloud based DNAnexus make a mark, they roar with 26,000 DOW index with new programs, and churn millions of human genome projects, with none other than Dr Craig Venter, The Tesla of Genomics, and his institute in Synthetic Biology and Human Longevity Inc taking centerstage in the Genomics Corporate world.
On the other hand Where does then India stand in Biopharmaceuticals Biosimilars /New Biologics development. The Novel New Biologics, RNA and DNA based Therapeutics and Genomics based Drug discovery and development are a non starters. We have to start at some point innovating atleast invisibly thru our CROs pitching in for Globally Competitive Projects. NEW BIOLOGICS have to be developed in India as Biosimilar Play will be insufficient for India to Edge past the Western Competition. The author developed four molecules in Process Biologics department of Regeneron of Tarry Town NY in 90s and has ample experience to steer a CRO in this space of New Biologics.
New Biologics today will cost 2-3 Bn US dollars and OMICS technologies are churning out disease data far faster than ever. India has two inherent strong fundations. The Math and Stat. Computer Science is in the heart of the Indian, and IT need not be mentioned. Thus in the interdisciplinary science of Genome Informatics, India can become a leader help Drug discovery And Develpment programs and Contribute in Discovery Chemistry-and Biology. Novel Areas like ToxicoGenomics, Computational ToxicoGenomics and ChemoGenomics atlarge are still untapped in the west, and india can play a huge role if Competency can be built in Crtitical Masses.
Genome Informatics-lIke that of our own home grown research on Fractal Genomics Approaches-Fractal Genomics dates back to Indian Prowess in Fractal Temples that got Constructed by Our forefathers.Thus, small companies, Medium enterprises, start ups and Large companies are encouraged to test the unchartered territories with the help of Government funds, and stay at the forefront of technology-When that happens VC plays and Funding community would sit up and have a look at these entities for funding and nurturing them to IPO route. Barring exceptions 95% of Biotech is SME in India are going nowhere regarding fund raising. Nonetheless VCs having domain expertise like that of the western peers would be of great help. Kanwal Rekhi and Vinod Khosla, and the guys who wrote cheques for Estonia based skype, and Complete Genomics took one thing for sure failure is a given in Biotech. Success follows. Skype got immense valuations and Chinese BGI bought Complete genomics.
You cannot in fact get success without failures assures Naubar Afeyan, the biggest lead investor in boston based firm. In india, barring a few investments again none of them brought to bearing the risk appetite. RISK is inherently woven in the Biotech. 5000 companies in USA, 90% will bound face failure track. 10% of those succeed will create 150 year legacy. GE did not get made overnight. Following short cuts by investing in E-tech companies and Commercial runaway successes also will ensure no brand like GE ever for India. Invest in R&D and Marketing tells Dr Rajan Varadarajan of TxAM University, this authors own maternal uncle, Regents Distinguished professor in Texas USA. That he is pointing out to fortune 500.
As Dr Nirmalya Kumar and Dr Puranam point out Forward citations in Indian patents are right. But not in Biotech, it is a relatively skewed representation of India in science research innovations. USA has lead in the world in IT and Biotech-Pharma. The core of this innovation driven by Discovery research pumped by Start ups in Silicon Valley. California is 7th largest economy in the world. If We try to duplicate that model, we will fail. Our models should be home grown grass roots movement and tried and tested for indigeneous enterpreneurs. In Biotech where are the Captives as you see in IT. The model of services, Fee for service body shops simply does not fit Biotech, as the whole area is all about innovation and high ended science. Science has to be mastered like a Motor Car, and understood in its sum of whole parts writes Max Perutz.
Nehru wrote a piece and sent it to Einstein, while sending his book discovery of India. Max Perutz in his book,Is science necessary, in its preface quoted Nehru, as one sees India as vast nation of innumerable resources going down the drain leaving an impoverished lot to be cared for atlast.When british left india we were miniscule percentage of World share of GDP. When Robert clive came to then Calcutta, in united Bengal it was 23% of world GDP. Shashi Tharur demands for Reparations from Brexit ladden, relatively poverty striken Britain when compared to 24 trillion dollar US economy. Reparations will make sense if Britain somehow invests in India rather than returning stolen wealth to us. UK should not have office for Inward investments to UK from India or from London based UKTI in Bengaluru. Rather it should invest in Indian Biotech firms in Technology from a R&D toe ups from London Bioclusters and Nottingham Clusters etc. TATA should not invest abroad for stakes, rather british to invest in India, that will create jobs, and those are the reparations,we desire to boost the economy back 23% of the pre-colonial era.
Services which form 60% of the economy now are a Physical drain on the human capital, in a country which boasts of under 30 demographic dividends like no other state in the world. World class products and GE brands will only do the right thing for India. So the Make india efforts now released 15 hours back emphasizes Robotics and Genomics, putting Indian Subcontinent back on the right track from partial derailment. Rote learning and drudge working should be a thing of the past, Researching and Contract Researching-with moving up the value chain as Prof Dr Nirmalys points out are the Key to the Developed land Passport. Make no Mistake- Our Next Gen Sons and Daughters lives will be determined by what you do today and tomorrow till you live last minute. Do you want a better life to Offspings than you did, or below the belt subordination to the Knowledge Supremacy, who is the bell the Cats of these so called short sighted money mongering Reengineers. Are you doing justice to your own families?? and Offspings??. Ask Now!! because it is rather late. Better late than never folks. Get is straight from the guts of Younssters who learn by rote memory and regurgitation, who dont get jobs after their B.Techs in Biotech and Natural Sciences. If IT is the only thing we have to bragg all the world all the time, what do you think of various walks of lives of people like Artists, Musicians, Cultural historians, Natural Scientists like Ornitholgists, and Molecular Scientists. If a nation we are destined only for IT services, is it to folks to a subservient master telling the world we do services 100%, is it??. We take pride of 250 Bn USD IT services only is that right?? If the bottomlines are the only concern to an organization, you are bound to be rotten for ever and your children and grand childrens will also be family business running a subservient economy. Yes, the master sways in its way the Make his country great again!!. You are helping his country make great again or countries amass wealth by looting our youngsters intellectual wealth by working on Global shifts while they maintain 7 hr work days in a EU member country.
India Inc where have you gone wrong, in quest to moral compass. The quest to make more and much more while top brass pay yourself much more than you deserve, at the expense of our youngsters knowledge, that has only led to open spat about family hoardings in public and of your built in wealth, which is inviting the publics ire, and they will definetely vent in an occasion or other by neglecting your services and products.
MAKE IN INDIA DRUGS AND PHARMACEUTICALS NOW OR NEVER YOU WILL. As the drug discovery and development cycles are 15-20 years, by 2030 developed NEW INDIA you have a realistic chance Even when the west Big Pharma goes thru Jurgen Drews of Novartis Fame NCE Gap. Biotech is even a tougher ball game, given the fact Biosimilars are just coming of age in India by regulatory approvals in USA, EU and Japan, the three most closely monitored and regulated environment.
Science Philosophers Dr Karl Popper, Dr Thomas Kuehn and the book written by Clayton Christensen on Innovators Dilemma and Innovators DNA perhaps come to our rescue. An uncertain glory claims Dr Amartya Sen when talked about India's economic boom of recent times. Yes it is all 50% services economy, when do we get out this vicious cycle and build global brands quizzes Dr.Rajan Varadarajan. An Un-nterupted Power supply means sustainability and percentage points to GDP he asserts. Savvy Companies in the world do not clone strategies, he points out in Deccan Herald, Bengaluru edition in 2015.
Coming to the situation in USA of 5000 Bio-companies, and several few hundred billion dollars revenue model while In india, as Dr Nirmalya Kumar and Dr Gary Pisano have analyzed and showed that Invisible innovation is pervasive. But author prescrivbes that Visible innovation will only drive us building brands like Amgen and Genentech, Celgene, Regeneron and Abbvie. Few Pureplay Biologics enterprises is no answer to 1.5 billion who need to get basic healthcare rights in a harshly contested and commercialized fundamental health care setting in the country. Biocon
Research should be at the core of Product development although enterpreneurs are bound to face bed of thorns in their journey. Will have to endure. Start ups are rock bed of any economy in clearing job burden on government, and they should be provided ample support and funding and mechanisms to clear regulatory hurdles.
Western firms will only flock to India for Services and Product innovations once Research is set as Core to all functions of a Company. Dr Len Schleifer MD PhD., a Clinician PhD turned Bio-enterpreneur is the epitome of Bioenterpreneurship in the world. His lieutenant Dr.George Yancopoulos, son of a greek immigrants remains as the one of highest cited scientist in the history of drug discovery, a self made Research billionaire. This author had the privilege of working in that company in 90s era on Novel Biologics and heard Dr Yancopoulos speak in several forums. He is the 11th most highy cited scientist in the world admirably. Not one in ASIA qualifies that distinction. Len and George, the enfant terrible are role models for Innovation without expectations. Our industry should take a leaf out of their runaway success and replicate it in India and give people in thousands of other qualified New Biologists of the country, A Chance to proove!! themselves. Is that a crime in your balance sheets, a possible romance possible?? or denting your greenbacks so that your investors can be pleased with Q on Q and Y on Y numbers. Len asks why is the Big Pharma is overcharging the American Tax payers with ridiculous pricing structures, while they dont account evenly to their level of Innovation.As Gary Pisano puts it, I have never in my life seen a Intellectual community on Par with Biotechians of this world. Not a sector to spare. As genomics takes center stage in B2C environment in a personalized medicines way, we are still sequencing more in the hope of fully analyzing the sequence, while the Tesla of Genomics laments publicly that his sequence which got deciphered in 2000 never fully till today understood. Dr Andras pellionisz a triple doc in his google tech Talk challenges the Data deluge! IS IT READY? he asks. Then is it not a burden on Tax payers budgets, doing ENCODE projects??. to sequence and sequence everything on the earth?? who gets to pay this expenditure when they dont account to actionable healthcare end points curing Cancer and Autism, and debilitating and dreaded diseases which add to the exchequers kitty several billions of dollars or rather INR.
Len (fondly called in the company, and known in Biotech circles in USA) points out in a You tube Video, that If two people point to his door, one with a spectacular Sales figures that Quarter, and another with a rather an Innovation that may not yield fruit in many years to come, CEOs and Chairman and Board, if they dont get interested and excited equally at the sales numbers and a Visible innovation- the Company will be rotten egg over a period.
We cannot build 100 year companies which are built to last in India without Research Innovation and Products that are world Class. We must now sign on to this drive WE INNOVATE.Finally people come forward in India saying that they want to innovate. Seldom that happens in real time pressures of day to day operations of the business enterprises. Profits take centerstage and R&D takes back seat, Investor diktat becomes natural ally.
Srinivasa Ramanujan and Prof. C .V. Raman did it out of curiosity and not to monetize their knoweldge. Let us do it in our homeland, A Make in India, and it is possible only with qualified leadership at the helm of these companies who are visionaries. We see the New India is usurping and brimming with that Confidence, and I would hope to see a developed india by 2030 as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam desired most even till last minute delivering lectures. It is doable by all means if we get our act together, is there a political will to invest without expectations in Academia of Par excellence to Harvard and MIT, while deregulationting the industry removeing unwanted barriers plus taxes that cripples an ailing and non-started innovation led enterprise and dare to dream business houses to invest much more than what they do today.
MAKKAL SAKTHI MAHESAN SAKTHI!!.
Muktevi Venkata RAMANUJAM.
Bangalore,Tamil Nadu, INDIA.
June 4th, 2018.