Bangalore: After a 30-year stint as a professional editor and journalist that ended on April 30, 2016, Mr Narayanan Suresh has formally joined the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) on May 2, 2016 as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). He will be based out of the ABLE secretariat in Bangalore. The association was founded in 2003 to represent the interests of the fast-growing biotechnology industry.
For more than 13 years as the Editor of BioSpectrum, Mr N Suresh has worked closely with the biotech sector. Therefore, his rich experience and knowledge are expected to benefit the industry in due course of time. From being a neutral observer to the biotech industry insider, his second innings now allows him to continue the association with sector.
The journalistic journey of Mr N Suresh began exactly 30 years ago in May 1996 when he joined the Times of India in New Delhi as their first-ever Exclusive Science Reporter, after a grueling 10-month training in Social Journalism with the Times Center for Media Studies( then called The Times Research Foundation School for Social Journalism) in the very first batch.
The meeting of ABLE’s Executive Council on Monday, 9th May specifically gave him the challenging task of ensuring an orderly growth of the industry, increase the engagement levels within and outside the industry, set up a robust information sharing network, interface with policy makers, regulators and the wide range of stakeholders and make the organization the hub of activities for the hundreds of startups in the biotech sector.
While speaking to Rahul Koul, Chief Editor, BioVoice News, on a phone line from Bangalore, Mr N Suresh expressed his happiness on the new role and responsibilities as the COO of ABLE. Giving an outline on the activities of ABLE, he specifically pointed out towards the current regulatory issues and the dialogue with the government on biosimilar guidelines that will be out soon after the final meeting on May 20th. “It will help in giving confidence to the industry,” he opined.
“There has to be a relook at the whole scenario involving the contribution of various verticals to the bio-economy.”
On the industry’s slow growth in past few years, he said, “The $100 billion target for the industry in next one decade is a mammoth task that has to be achieved. Therefore, there has to be a relook at the whole scenario involving the contribution of various verticals to the bio-economy. Also, the enormous role of information technology has to be explored across the sector. It has the huge potential”
“The 200 startups are already thriving in this ecosystem and a proper mentoring of new ones has to be equally ensured. ABLE will work closely with the government agencies and those concerned to make their path easier. It will try to take up the mentorship mantle effectively. There are more than 150 startups in Medical Technology area that have come up. It is one exciting area that needs to be looked at,” mentioned Suresh.
From India’s first science reporter to biotech scribe: A memorable journey
During the first 10 years of his career in Times of India, N Suresh went to all corners of the world and India visiting research centers in various parts, witnessing the launch of many INSAT satellites from French Guyana, peeped into many of the country’s new fangled Nuclear Reactors that were being built in remote corners, chronicled the growth of environmental movements and institutions, scooped the first ever export of Wheat from India ( from being a nation with begging bowl), and so on.
From a writer, in 1997 he moved to CyberMedia as the Associate Editor of DATAQUEST, the country’s leading IT publication, and it was a transformation, from being just a writer to an Editor-Manager. “The Chairman of Cybermedia, Mr Pradeep Gupta as well as one of its then Directors, Mr Shyam Malhotra believed in my capabilities and gave me many challenging roles that involved creating strong publication brands, says Suresh nostalgically.
At CyberMedia, he was later involved in launching and building the BioSpectrum magazine, the only source of information for biotech industry back then. Later, he also moved on with the brand to MM Activ Sci-Tech Communications when it was acquired by the later. During his long stint as the Editor, he managed and edited various publications within these publishing houses.
Talking about the exciting times he had while working as a journalist, Suresh says, “I have enjoyed most of this journey, working with some of the most energetic men and women in my team, great associates, life long friendships made with hundreds of illustrious Indians from various walks of life with whom I continue to be in contact regularly.”
Particularly on the changing role of media, Suresh feels that media despite undergoing tremendous changes, as an industry, it is all for the best, whatever many critics may say. “We will realize that distribution channels have changed but the need for curated, credible information analysis is only growing,” he said.