Iranian biotechnology ranks 12th in world, first in West Asia

Iran is ranked 12th in the world and first in West Asia in terms of biotechnology, as 9.5 percent of the income of knowledge-based companies and more than 60 percent of their exports are related to biotechnology.

Foreign exchange savings of $1 billion per year by producing 22 biopharmaceuticals, gaining the first rank in biotechnology products and vaccines in West Asia, and the presence among the top five biotechnology producers in Asia are among the country’s achievements, Mostafa Ghanei, secretary of the biotechnology development office of the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, said on Monday.

“However, we are still far from achieving a targeted global market share of 23.25 billion dollars, and given the current needs of the country, we need to be more active and pursue this goal more seriously.”

So far, 27 biotechnology medicines, 12 vaccine projects, 90 pharmaceutical raw materials, and 55 projects in agriculture and food security have been implemented in order to gain a 3 percent market share and biotechnology assistance to the development of the economy, he explained.

Some 8 major companies are responsible for managing the country’s 117 priority products in the fields of biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical raw materials, vaccines, probiotics, equipment, and chemical drugs, he emphasized.

“To take steps towards the knowledge-based economy, we directed the researches topics in this regard, in addition to the national division of labor, and identifying 41 key priority issues in the field of research, while supporting 48 gene banks,” he concluded.

Pharmaceutical capabilities

Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, head of the Food and Drug Administration, said in January that the Iranian pharmaceutical industry and scientists are capable of producing any kind of medicine over a two-year period.

Iran also produced drugs confirmed to be effective in the coronavirus treatment, including, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that some 97 percent of the whole medicine consumed in the country is produced domestically and only 3 percent is imported.

Sourena Sattari Vice President for Science and Technology, also said that “Iran plays a leading role in the field of biotechnology in the region, with the production of 24 biotech medicine.

Ismail Ghaderifar, head of the center for strategic technologies development of the vice presidency of science and technology added that under sanctions in the most difficult conditions, Iran combatted the pandemic and knowledge-based companies could make the country independent. Moreover, they managed to produce pharmaceutical items required by the country’s health system.

“Also, the production of medical equipment such as ventilators is one of the honors of knowledge-based companies, which is a vital and important item for ICU patients, which have even reached the export stage,” he said.

Electrospinning is another product made by knowledge-based companies, which can apply a nano-layer on the fibers. Europe which was the only producer of the product refused to transfer the production line to Iran due to sanctions, and the price of each production line was one million euros, he highlighted.

Mehdi Kashmiri, director for technology and planning at the science ministry, said in July that about 450 knowledge-based companies were active in the country for manufacturing protective equipment and treatment products to fight the coronavirus.

Production of more than one million face masks per day, production of more than 1.5 liters of disinfectants per day, diagnostic kits, non-contact thermometers, protective clothing, ventilator are among the produces manufactured by these companies, he added.

Iranian-made innovative products in the field of diagnosis, screening, and fighting coronavirus were also unveiled to combat the disease, namely, ozone generator, nanotechnology face shields, disinfection gate, and molecular COVID-19 diagnostic kits.

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