Health care biotech industry (Review Paper)

  • G Padmanaban Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Keywords: Biotech, Information technology, Bioinformatics, Molecular medicine, Gene therapy, Pharmacogenomics, Genetic engineering, Protein therapeutics, Genomics


Modern biotechnology became possible because of the ability to clone genes and produce gene products barriers of species and sex. Potential entrepreneurs are getting interested in venturing into health care biotech industry, stimulated by the success story in information technology. Products of protein therapeutics, such as insulin, growth hormones, interferons, blood proteins, streptokinase and vaccines have received special attention. Pharmaceutical companies got into the field of diagnostics, a major thrust area being products of antigen/antibody and nucleic acid-based diagnostic kits. The ability to clone and sequence genes from a variety of organisms has culminated in the subject of genomics. High throughput screening of thousands of organic molecules against a battery of drug targets using robotic machinery is the current approach to come up with lead molecules. New drug delivery systems for slow, sustained and direct delivery to target tissues are under way. There is hope that hereditary and metabolic disorders may have a cure through replacements of defective genes by normal cloned genes and by blocking the expression of unwanted genes, respectively. This mega approach would call for the availability of DNA chips, a product of collaboration between molecular biologists and electronic engineers. The tendency now-a-days is for a marriage between biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Animal cloning, spearheaded by the birth of Dolly, has revolutionised cell biology and is of promise to generate animal bio-vectors to produce desired protein pharmaceuticals in milk. Stem cell research has assumed a lot of importance. In our country, reasonable competence has been built-up in the field of biotechnology. Around two dozen institutes carry out front-line research in medical biotechnology. Successful commercialisation of a few diagnostic kits and recombinant vaccines has provided an impetus and enthusiasm to exploit biotechnology in a big way. Industry needs to leap-frog, with adequate investments.
How to Cite
Padmanaban, G. (2002). Health care biotech industry (Review Paper). Defence Science Journal, 51(4), 367-372.
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