Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Biotech in India

An inspirational story in the NYTimes calls the founder of Biocon as “India’s Mother of Invention”. Biocon was founded 25 years ago in Bangalore.

Twenty-five years later, Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw, 50, has become a symbol of sorts for that industry. Her now independent company, Biocon India Ltd., of which she is chairwoman and managing director, employs almost 900 people, making it among India’s largest biotechnology companies.

From this capital of the southern state of Karnataka, which is now home to 85 biotechnology companies, Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw is among those trying to shape a nation’s approach to uncharted scientific and commercial terrain. It is both promising and risky.

Across India, states are racing to set up biotech parks, hoping to mimic the success of the information technology industry that defined India as a global knowledge powerhouse.

But biotechnology touches human lives in a way that information technology does not, and that is at the heart of the debate over its benefits and risks for developing countries.

[Kiran] passionately believes that India must embrace biotechnology, with the proper precautions. She believes it can change the way this country of more than one billion people, at least one-fourth of them deep in poverty, eats and farms, researches and cures disease.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.