Six healthcare start-ups will get a grant ₹65 lakh each on winning the first edition of the Pfizer INDovation incubation initiative.

Their focus is on oncology and digital health, given the increasing burden of cancer in India and the emerging use of digital health towards better patient outcomes, said a joint note from Pfizer, with programme partners, including the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, Social Alpha, Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT-Delhi and AGNIi, with UN Health Innovation Exchange (UNHIEX) as the knowledge partner.

The winners will receive incubation support from AIM, NITI Aayog and IIT Delhi, while Pfizer will provide the grant, mentorship and technical assistance to the start-ups, even as Social Alpha will provide the program acceleration support, it added.

Winning start-ups

In the digital category, the winners included BrainSight Technologies’ Voxel Box, that uses an AI-based computational engine to extract brain connectivity and activity patterns, and hard-to-understand structural features; RAMJA Genosensor, that provides a rapid, easy, and cost-effective novel paper-based device to detect microbial infection and antimicrobial resistance in less than two hours. And AI Health Highway India’s Ai-Steth - a smart stethoscope to screen, detect and predict heart and lung disorders using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the note said.

Under Oncolocy, the winners were Oncophenomics Life Sciences, that developed a tumour-informed liquid biopsy CGP test that helps circumvent the issues of non-approachable biopsy regions; Pragmatech Healthcare Solutions’ CERVICHECK Kit, that provides a clinically conclusive and comprehensive solution for effective preventive cervical cancer screening implementation in a low resource setting, by addressingof low-recall and drop-outs. And Tera Lumen Solutions, that has developed a non-invasive imaging device that can detect accurate cancer margins intraoperatively and rapidly (within ten minutes of surgery), it added

200 applications

The incubation program, launched in April 2022, will run for two years. It will help accelerate the lab-to-market journey of these startups. Apart from the grant, support will include product engineering and development services, clinical validation guidance, regulatory advisory, identification of market access opportunities and catalytic cross-industrial collaborations.

The INDovation program received applications from over 200 start-ups in the country. And the evaluation criteria for selection included the potential impact of the product/solution, technological innovation, unique value proposition, competitive advantage, financial and operational scalability and clarity on the future roadmap, the release said.