Bayer Corporation vs NatcoPharma Ltd. Acontroversial case for many reasons but one that piqued my interest in theimportance of bioprocessing. It was on the 19th of March 2012 that I was goingthrough an article from a scientific magazine. The Indian Government hadgranted its first compulsory license against Bayer’s patent on Nexavar, ananticancer drug, to Natco Pharma Ltd., an Indian generic drug company.
Although, the focal point of this case wasthe issue of compulsory licensing, it led me to thinking about how the sameproduct can be manufactured in multiple ways, thus altering consequences likecost of manufacturing, pricing and accessibility. As an amateurBiotechnologist, I explored theseaspects further and realized the impact of how innovative technologies can helpus achieve these objectives, and this is where my fascination with the field ofBioprocess Engineering started. Biologyhas always been my subject of interest.
Back in college, I vividly remember attendinga seminar on the recent advances in biotechnology and bioprocessing. Theprofessor mentioned about concepts and technologies that simply blew my mind. Tobe honest, not that I really understood the ideas he put forth, because it allseemed so impossible to me. It only made me more curious to explore theprocesses that we generally consider mundane, at a cellular level. Thispropelled me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology. Asa Biotechnology undergraduate at Savitribai Phule Pune University (formerlyUniversity of Pune), I believe the course work has provided me with a solidfoundation in science as well as engineering related subjects and various mathematicalconcepts. Courses like Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry have helped me gain goodknowledge about biomolecules, their importance in metabolic and biologicalprocesses, functions and their interactions with other molecules.
The practicalsessions from Microbiology have equipped me in handling microbial cultures.Fermentation Technology, Reaction and Biochemical Engineering have provided aprofound knowledge about upstream processing and courses on Bioseparations havegiven an insight about downstream processing. I was introduced to chemicalengineering concepts required in designing a bioprocess in courses like FluidFlow & Unit Operations, Heat & Mass Transfer, Stoichiometry and Thermodynamics.Bioprocess Equipment Design and Plant engineering & Project Costing familiarizedme to the model of design criteria for manufacturing quality product. I am alsoconvinced that I have successfully implemented my theoretical knowledge in alaboratory environment, as exemplified by the fact that I have receivedexcellent grades in the Instrumentation & Process Control and BioprocessModelling & Simulation lab. In my opinion, my undergraduate course hasprepared me in all aspects to pursue a master’s degree in Biological Engineering with a major focus in Bioprocessing and BioproductsEngineering.