Indian Biosimilars and Vaccines at Crossroads–Replicating the Success of Pharmagenerics

Sunita Panda, Puneet Kumar Singh, Snehasish Mishra, Sagnik Mitra, Priyabrata Pattnaik, Sanjib Das Adhikary, Ranjan K. Mohapatra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The global pharma sector is fast shifting from generics to biologics and biosimilars with the first approval in Europe in 2006 followed by US approval in 2015. In the form of Hepatitis B vaccine, India saw its first recombinant biologics approval in 2000. Around 20% of generic medications and 62% of vaccines are now supplied by the Indian pharmaceutical industry. It is this good position in biologics and biosimilars production that could potentially improve healthcare via decreased treatment cost. India has witnessed large investments in biosimilars over the years. Numerous India-bred new players, e.g., Enzene Biosciences Ltd., are keen on biosimilars and have joined the race alongside the emerging giants, e.g., Biocon and Dr. Reddy’s. A very positive sign was the remarkable disposition during the COVID-19 pandemic by Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India. India’s biopharmaceutical industry has been instrumental in producing and supplying preventives and therapeutics to fight COVID-19. Despite a weak supply chain and workforce pressure, the production was augmented to provide reasonably priced high-quality medications to more than 133 nations. Biosimilars could cost-effectively treat chronic diseases involving expensive conventional therapies, including diabetes, respiratory ailments, cancer, and connective tissue diseases. Biologics and biosimilars have been and are being tested to treat and manage COVID-19 symptoms characterized by inflammation and respiratory distress. Purpose of review: Although India boasts many universities, research centers, and a relatively skilled workforce, its global University–Industry collaboration ranking is 24, IPR ranking remains 47 and innovation ranking 39. This reveals a wide industry-academia gap to bridge. There are gaps in effective translational research in India that must be promptly and appropriately addressed. Innovation demands strong and effective collaborations among universities, techno-incubators, and industries. Methodology: Many successful research findings in academia do not get translation opportunities supposedly due to low industrial collaboration, low IP knowledge, and publication pressure with stringent timelines. In light of this, a detailed review of literature, including policy papers, government initiatives, and corporate reviews, was carried out, and the compilation and synthesis of the secondary data were meticulously summarized for the easy comprehension of the facts and roadmap ahead. For easy comprehension, charts, figures, and compiled tables are presented. Results: This review assesses India’s situation in the biosimilar space, the gaps and areas to improve for Indian investment strategies, development, and innovation, addressing need for a more skilled workforce, industrial collaboration, and business models. Conclusions: This review also proposes forward an approach to empowering technopreneurs to develop MSMEs for large-scale operations to support India in taking innovative thoughts to the global level to ultimately realize a self-reliant India. The limitations of the compilation are also highlighted towards the end.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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