Indian biotech leaders visit Birmingham for life sciences briefing

A delegation of Indian biotech company leaders visited the University of Birmingham to see the life sciences cluster, where the University’s world-leading research is translated into new medical therapies.  

The delegation travelled to Birmingham as part of bioConclave 2017 – an annual gathering of Indian life science business leaders facilitated by leading consultancy EPG, who come to the UK to explore investment and partnership opportunities. 

Birmingham’s life science ecosystem combines basic research and translational facilities in a single site, and is rapidly becoming a major site for health research investment.  

The visitors, led by Pratik Dattani, Managing Director of EPG, were welcomed by Indian Consul General Dr Aman Puri, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, and Dr James Wilkie, CEO, University of Birmingham Enterprise, which runs business incubation and commercialisation services for the University.   

They toured the University’s Institute of Translational Medicine, the biobank, the gene and cell therapy manufacturing facility, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the School of Dentistry and the BioHub and BizzInn incubation facilities.    

Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International), said: “The University of Birmingham has a long-standing strength in life sciences. Four of our 11 Nobel Prize winners received their awards for work revealing the structure of DNA; developing new treatments for heart disease and cancer; understanding pain relief; and pioneering organ transplants.  

“Birmingham is one of the UK’s most important sites for life sciences – characterised by strong partnerships that link academic excellence with innovation in addressing the health care requirements of a diverse regional population of five million people.  

“The University’s engagement in India is extensive, dating back to 1909 when we welcomed our first students from India to our Edgbaston campus. For both these reasons, we are very pleased to be hosting this delegation visit as part of bioConclave 2017.” 

Dr James Wilkie said: “Birmingham has a long established ecosystem that accelerates innovations in medicine. Our clinical-academic partnerships support all stages of the journey from bench studies to clinical trials and post-marketing surveillance studies.   

“Our resources, such as the Birmingham BioHub, the UK’s first dedicated shared facility for early stage life science companies, are co-located in close proximity to the University of Birmingham and two of the largest Hospitals in the country – this speeds up the translation of research, enables more rapid assessment, and quicker adoption of medical technologies.”   

This year’s bioConclave saw the main one-day conference programme held in London, before delegates travelled to Birmingham to learn more about the University’s research and incubation facilities and opportunities in the city.  

Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India, said:  “I am delighted to attend bioConclave 2017. Collectively, we should explore opportunities for greater collaboration between British institutes of excellence such as Birmingham BioHub and India’s Genome Valley, where six out of 10 world leaders in biotech R&D already have a presence. 

“Britain is a global innovation hub, and must increase its footprint in India – an economy which is the fastest growing large economy of the world. The pharma market is projected to grow to US$ 55 billion by 2020 making it the sixth largest market in the world and the biotechnology market is likely to grow to US$ 100 billion by 2025.  

“After the US, Britain is the second largest producer of English-speaking highly skilled scientific and technical human resources, a critical component for advancement in these sectors.” 

India remains one of the largest foreign investors into the UK, with biotech, pharma and life sciences investments creating or safeguarding 7,049 jobs in the UK, according to the latest figures from the Department for International Trade.