In March 2021, the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) set up a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group to facilitate cooperation, monitor trends, and scout for opportunities related to developments in critical and emerging technologies, that included biotechnology. However, the potential for Quad cooperation in biotechnology remains insufficiently tapped. The establishment of a Quad-led biomanufacturing hub in India will give the necessary fillip to enhance this cooperation. (The writers have examined this proposal with researchers at the Australian National University.)
Biomanufacturing uses living systems, particularly microorganisms and cell cultures, to produce molecules and materials on a commercial scale. It has the potential to transform the global industrial system, with up to 60% of physical inputs to the global economy expected to be producible using this technology. Many countries, including the United States and China, recognise the need to optimise this ecosystem and have designed specific policies to shape their bio-economies.