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Conference on Life Sciences - Opportunities & Challenges Held at Trivandrum

Thiruvananthapuram set the stage for yet another event in the Life Sciences sector today, the second in a row in the last one week, with Shri. Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala inaugurating an international conference titled "Conference on Life Sciences- Opportunities and Challenges" here at Mascot Hotel. The inaugural function was presided over by Shri. P. K. Kunhalikutty, Minster for Industries & IT. The event, organised by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), had the backdrop of Government's commitment in fostering the growth of industries, attracting investments and creating employment in environment friendly - technology based sectors like Life Sciences.

Welcoming the speakers and other dignitaries comprising senior biotech & life sciences professionals and those at the helm of affaires in biotech/life sciences industry & academia, Shri. Tom Jose IAS, Managing Director KSIDC solicited the partnership of industry and academia in the Kerala's endeavour in evolving the state as one of the top biotech destinations in the country.

He highlighted ardent initiatives of KSIDC, Government of Kerala's principal promotional agency, in developing the ingredients and eco system for Life Sciences based industries in the state.

Kerala is designated as one of the 34 biodiversity spots in the world. Coupled with a geographical richness and presence of major Health and R&D institutions, Kerala is no doubt an enormously potent Life Sciences hub of India. Government of Kerala entrusted KSIDC with the task establishing the park with world class infrastructure facilities for life science based industries and R&D institutions. The foundation stone of "BIO 360 Life Sciences Park" was laid on 29th August 2013 marking the start of an innovative project in the state. Delivering his speech, Shri.P.H.Kurian, Principal Secretary(Industries &IT) highlighted the Government's initiatives for harnessing the biodiversity, knowledgebase and conducive investment climate in making revolutionary changes in the biotech sector in Kerala.

The three technical sessions during the one day conference dwelt upon the various aspects of significance to the state in promoting life sciences sector. The first session focussed on the emerging opportunities for investment in this futuristic sector, and witnessed valuable contributions of industry captains including Dr. Sudhir Nambiar, Managing Director, Astra Zeneca a $28 billion global innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company spread over more than 100 countries, Dr.VijayChandru- Chairman and CEO of Strand Life Science one of the fastest growing Life Science Companies in India that pioneers the practice of applied scientific intelligence in the life and health sciences. The speakers showcased the developments and innovations taking place in this sector and the strides made by their companies. The session was chaired by Dr.Madhusoodana Kurup, Vice Chancellor Kerala University of Fisheries & Oceanic Studies who explained the rich marine diversity of the state and the opportunities available in the marine biotechnology sector.

The session-2 dwelt upon Kerala's core competencies in the Life Sciences sector like the biodiversity, knowledgebase, human resources and ecosystem provided by renowned R&D and healthcare institutions. Prof.M.Radhakrishna Pillai, Director Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology and Dr.P.G Latha, Director Tropical Botanic Gardens and Research Institute highlighted the unique natural advantages of Kerala and the steps initiated in harnessing them . Session also benefitted from the experience shared by Shri. V.N Rajasekharan Pillai, Executive Vice President and Principal Secretary, Science & Technology Department, who opined that Kerala has all the ingredients to become the life science hub of India.

The 3rd technical session, which focussed on enabling entrepreneurship in Life Science Sector was presided over by Dr.K.Ellangovan Secretary Health and Family Welfare, who highlighted the importance of providing world class infrastructure to attract investments. Shri. Jitendrakumar, former Vice President IKP Knowledge Park and Dr. Anderson Ranjit Kumar, Deputy Vice President TICEL Bio Park ltd shared their experience in developing the parks and in attracting investments into both parks.

The final summing up of the day's events was carried out by Shri. T.P.Thomaskutty, Executive Director KSIDC and formal vote of thanks to all participants was made by Shri.B.Jyothikumar, Deputy General Manager, KSIDC.