Biotechnology Current Affairs

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Gujarat government announces Biotechnology Policy 2016

Gujarat Government announced its ‘Biotechnology Policy-2016’ to establish state as a preferred destination for manufacturing of biotechnology products.

The policy has provisions for various incentives for investors who are keen to set up their units in the state. It aims to take annual turnover of biotechnology products to Rs 15,000 crore from current f Rs 4,500 crore turn over within next 3-4 years and make Gujarat top state in this sector in the country.

Under the policy
  • State government will provide capital subsidy up to Rs 25 crore on the total investment for developing a Biotechnology (BT) Park.
  • In addition, the developer of such park will be eligible for 100% reimbursement of stamp duty paid on lease or sale of the land for setting such park.
  • BT Park developer will also be given 100% reimbursement for electricity duty paid for a period of five years.
  • Capital subsidy up to Rs 10 per cent of the gross fixed capital investment(GFCI) with a ceiling of Rs 5 crore will be given to individual BT manufacturing units having GFCI up to Rs 50 crore.
  • Further, BT units borrowings up to Rs 50 crore will be entitled to an interest subsidy at the rate of 5% with a ceiling of 2.5 crore per annum.
  • Government would give 100% reimbursement of stamp duty paid on sale or lease of the land o encourage new start-ups in this sector.


Scientists successfully grow three-dimensional lungs in lab using stem cells

Scientists in the United States including those of Indian origin have successfully grown three-dimensional (3D) lungs in the lab, using stem cells.

The 3D lungs or organoids was created by coating tiny gel beads with lung-derived stem cells and then allowing them to self-assemble into the shapes of the air sacs found in human lungs.

To show that these tiny organoids mimicked the structure of actual human lungs, researchers compared it with real sections of human lung.

Significance: The laboratory-grown 3D lungs can be used to study diseases including Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) which has been difficult to study using conventional methods and also test possible treatments for the lung diseases.

What is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)?

  • IPF is a chronic lung disease characterised by scarring of the lungs. The scarring makes the lungs thick and stiff.
  • It results in progressively worsening shortness of breath and thus results in lack of oxygen to the brain and vital organs.
  • Though researchers do not know what causes IPF in all cases but cigarette smoking and exposure to certain types of dust can increase the risk of developing the disease.


Kiran M Shaw appointed Knight of Legion of Honor by France

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Limited was appointed Knight of the National Order of the French Legion of Honour (Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur).

Shaw was bestowed with this prestigious award for her contribution to biosciences and research. She will be presented with this award on behalf of the French President later in 2016.

About Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

  • Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is Indian entrepreneur and current chairperson of IIM-Bangalore
  • She is Chairman and MD of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bengaluru.
  • Awards and Honours: She was bestowed with Othmer Gold Medal (2014) for outstanding contributions to the progress of science and chemistry.
  • Forbes magazine had listed her 85th most powerful woman in the world. She was also listed on the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list.

Chevalier l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur: It is the highest civilian award of the French Government for outstanding contribution in diverse fields.