Nature's Toolbox

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The emerging biotechnologysector offers satisfying career trajectory to young aspirants.Prachi Rege gathers intelligence on the feeding,fueling, healing science of life.

Does the study of DNA molecules excite you? Do you want tohelp find cure or develop affordable medicines for life threatning diseases? Ifyes, then formulate that sciencegeek in you to make a career in thebooming field of biotechnology. A recent report by Ernst and Young (E&Y)titled- 'Beyond Borders: Global biotechnology report 2011'suggests that the biotechnology sector in India is expected toachieve a revenue of US$ 11.6 billion by 2017. Italso estimates the industry to growat a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 per cent.

"With changes in various government policies andgrowing trends in global markets, the industry is looking forward tohealthy growth potentials," says Atul Aslekar, director of thePune-based VLifeSciences. "I believe that 2014-15 will witness arise in manpower demand," he adds.The job prospects for a biotech graduate aredefinitely promising. For one, the Departments of Science andTechnology and Biotechnology, and the Indian Council ofMedical Research (ICMR) collectively have a hugenetwork of over 300 organisednational laboratories. Also,the emergence of indigenious private sector companies likeBiocon, Piramal Healthcare, Zydus Cadila and many others, hasadded more brightness to the employmentscene. Industry experts however, are unable guess the exact manpower demand."Biotech market in India has both organized and unorganizedplayers. Hence, it is difficult to guess the exact manpower demand,"says Amitava Saha, HR head of the Bangalore- based Biocon India.Biocon hires on an average approximately 1000 people every year, hereveals. A wide range of jobs are available for those whowant to be a part of this sunshine sector, observe head honchos.

Youcould be a bio-engineersapplying engineering principles to biological systems, or you couldbe also be a lab scientist and research associate developing drugsin the research and development departments.

Once developed, drugneeds to be tried and tested before it goes out in to the market. Itis at this stage that professionals like clinical researchers,programme associatseand site coordinators step in to do the testing.You will need to market a pathbreaking andaffordable drug appropriately. Medical representatives,product managers and sales executives dothis work. With the market getting cloggedup with new drugs and cures, patents and liscences arean issue. For these, you need professionalsin the regulatory related jobs.

Researchwork or scientific data needs to be processed logically; this is doneby IT-related professionals designated as data analystsor programmers. Besides these, there are many multi-disciplinary job opportunities indepartments related to quality assurance, compliance, IntellectualProperty (IP), logistics, supply-chain, etc. "Finally,those who don't want to be employed in any of the above mentionedjob roles can make a career by passing on the seeds ofknowledge to the young aspirants.Lecturer and trainers at educational institutes are always indemand," points out Aslekar. HR experts say that a biotechnology job involves alot of fieldwork. Hence, it requires multi-disciplinary skills ofboth-science and technology, and management.

"Smartenup your BSc or BPharm degree with a MBA and you can land up amid-level management job role along with a handsome pay package,"advises Saha. For those holding managerial positions, skills like goodcommunication, team work, culture fit with the company and ability tonetwork are essential. In case of research scientists, recruiterslook for PhD candidates having an adequate number of papers publishedwhile studying, problem solving capability and ability to work for aflexible number of hours. "Fresher should focus on becomingindustry-ready. Keep abreast with the latest developments and beready to work in an industrial set-up," advises Aslekar.

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Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, (IBB) Pune -

School of Biotechnology, JNU, Delhi

Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Bangalore-

The Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Noida-

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