Lucknow city is witness to a silent biotechnology revolution. The scientific miracles include human body organs growing in trays, designer or person specific vaccines and crops being grown in laboratories by foreign and Indian companies. In addition, each one of these companies is housed under one roof; Biotech Park located at Kursi Road.
Says chief executive officer (CEO) of the park, PK Seth, not without some pride: "A US-based company Vivo Bioscience involved in developing new human bioassay platforms, tissue cultures which function like body organs, is going to set shops at the park. Moreover, two other US-based companies Cognate Bioservices Inc and Northwest Biotherupetics Bothell, which have already signed agreement with Biotech Park, will change the trend of medical treatment from chemical-based therupetics to cell-based one."
In addition to the first ever human DNA bank for the public, the city's second umbilical cord blood bank is being established by IQRA Biotech Services. This too, will be based at the park. Those already established and running their facilities from the park campus are: Sheel Biotech, which provides saplings of high-yield varieties of bamboo and banana through tissue culture technique and Next-Gen dealing in bio-fertilizers production.
Some companies soon to be set up include: Chandan Health Care that will produce diagnostic kits for HIV; Clintech Research India, which will be a scientific research out sourcing (SRO) firm, on the lines of BPO, for conducting clinical trials and testing safety of new molecules.
This is not all. The park has taken a major initiative in biodiesel production. Already over five lakh saplings of 'jatropa' plant have been sold to big and small farmers and industries.
Some facilities being provided by the institution include a solvent extraction plant and bio-informatics based processing of research-related data. "This will ensure that all companies and the society at large is benefited by whatever happens at the park," says Seth.
As the Biotech Park will be launched at a time when biotechnology is booming in the country, (there are now over 2,000 companies in India from just over 70 in the year 2000 and revenue has crossed the magical figure of $2 billion) the institution is set to emerge as a hub of high-end research in north India, stresses Seth.
Spread over an area of eight acres of land, Biotech Park is a joint venture of the Central and state governments, in collaboration with CSIR and IIT-Kanpur apart from other educational institutions and industries. "That is the key," says Seth, referring to the stakeholders' assortium, which he believes will ensure that the companies do not work in isolation.