The Indian genomics market is projected to grow by 18% in the next five years, driven by the decreasing costs of tests and increased affordability for the middle class and above. This growth aligns with the global genomics market, according to Nomura Research Institute (NRI) Consulting and Solutions India. Reliance Life Sciences’ entry into the market and its acquisition of a majority stake in Strand Life Sciences, along with the development of a cost-effective genomic kit, will significantly reduce costs and facilitate wider adoption of the technology in India.
Currently estimated at approximately $60 million, the genomics market includes wellness and diagnostics applications. With the decreasing costs and government initiatives like the Genome India Project, the market is expected to expand. NRI Consulting and Solutions India’s analysis highlights high costs and insufficient data as current challenges in the genomics market. Whole genome sequencing services provided by leading genomics companies range from $600 to $1,000.
Moreover, there is a lack of adequate information regarding the relationship between specific genes and observable traits in the Indian population. Additionally, there is a scarcity of publicly available lists of clinically significant variants for various complex genetic diseases among Indian patients. These gaps may lead to inefficient interpretations of genome tests and inaccurate diagnoses. However, the introduction of an affordable genomics kit and government initiatives are expected to address these challenges in the future.
India has witnessed an increasing trend in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost due to non-communicable diseases, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). Furthermore, World Bank data indicates a substantial 91% growth in per capita income from 2009 to 2019. These factors underscore the need and potential for consumers to invest in preventive healthcare. Consequently, the successful adoption of technologies such as genomics is expected to drive significant market growth.
The advancement of genomics presents ethical and social issues related to data standards, patient data security, patient consent, and fair usage and collection of data. India is currently focusing on developing infrastructure, such as the Genome India Project and Human Genetics & Genome Analysis, to address these concerns.
The introduction of a data privacy bill with guidelines on handling health data will be a crucial step for India. It will help genomics companies in better managing confidential genomics data and support large-scale health infrastructure projects like Ayushman Bharat Yojana, which aims to store digital medical records.
Given the nascent state of the overall genome market in India and the high costs involved, penetration in rural markets is currently minimal and expected to grow slowly compared to urban markets. Private and international providers entering the market will contribute to its growth. The advancement of technology and cost reduction has the potential to significantly improve preventive healthcare in rural areas by reducing the severity of chronic diseases resulting from late detection. However, awareness of genomics as a preventive mechanism remains low even among urban populations, and increasing adoption rates through medical professionals will be crucial for growth.