India's bio-informatics industry makes pitch for venture funding

Tuesday, 26 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's fledgling bio-informatics sector Monday urged the government to create an environment for increased venture capital inflow to fund research and development activities in the country.

"Worldwide bio-informatics market is worth $2 billion and in the next five years it is expected to grow rapidly to touch $20 billion," said Sunil Wadhwani, chief executive officer of U.S.-based technology firm iGATE Corporation.

"There is a huge opportunity for the Indian industry to tap the market. But not many companies are coming forward to invest in the field," Wadhwani told an economic summit here.

The three-day India Economic Summit 2002, which started here Sunday, is being organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Wadhwani said the government should encourage venture capitalists by creating enabling guidelines to enhance growth in the bio-informatics sector.

Experts say India holds great potential in the field of bio-informatics, which essentially means application of IT to biology, due to its cutting edge software skills and vast base of trained manpower.

The nimble footed companies in the sector, however, have failed to attract large-scale venture capital investment after the dotcom bust.

"We need more companies to come forward and share their experiences with others," said Wadhwani, adding while India has tech technology skills, lack of investment will pose a major roadblock.

Vinay Deshpande, chairman and chief executive officer of Encore Software, said there is a need to spread awareness among the potential investors about the growth possibilities in the sector over the next few years.

"Since bio-informatics as such is research and development oriented fields, we need a conducive policy framework to enable higher investment in India.

"India is capable of becoming a design lab of the world, not just in IT or biotech, but in other areas as well".
Source: IANS
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