PSG-STEP (Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Park), which initially started off with an IT incubation facility, has over the years expanded to include electronics, nano technology and recently into biotechnology as well.

Bio-NEST – The Biotech Incubation Centre — established with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council's (BIRAC) support, to nurture product innovation and start ups working at the intersection of bioscience and technology was inaugurated this morning.

Out of the total outlay of ₹4.2 crore, BIRAC has sanctioned ₹3.1 crore for establishment of the facility. Over 6,100 sq ft has been earmarked for BioNEST at PSG-STEP.

In the first phase of this three-year project, PSG-STEP will facilitate 10 entrepreneurs at the BioNEST incubation Centre said K Suresh Kumar, Executive Director, PSG-STEP

Manish Diwan, Head, Partnership and Entrepreneurship Development, BIRAC, said the Council has established a network of over 41 bio-incubators across the country, and is looking to add 10 every year.

BIRAC has, since its inception in 2012, supported over 1, 000 start-ups in biotech space, supported the development of 125 products/ technologies, helped file over 200 IPs and enabled close to 20 entrepreneurs get partnership funding.

BIRAC has helped create an enabling environment and bridge the gap between academia and industry, Diwan added, on the sidelines of an event organised to highlight the potential of Bio Start-up ecosystem in Coimbatore.

“We not only fund to support growth, but aid projects at each stage of the innovation cycle starting from ideation, to testing for proof of concept and commercialisation through a variety of schemes for innovators and incubators.

He conceded that funding for such projects has been crucial as the whole biotech system did not have angel investors or venture capital funding.

“While bio-incubators provide space, services and knowledge requirements of start ups, there is huge struggle in getting financial support in the initial phase. BIRAC’s Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Fund (SEED Fund) primarily aims to address this need by providing up to ₹30 lakh per start-up through the Incubators.

“BIRAC has also created a fund-of-fund – Biotechnology Innovation Fund – exclusively for biotech start-ups to accelerate growth. Here, VCs invest twice the amount invested by BIRAC in the equity. We have had six AcE (Accelerating Entrepreneurs) Fund partners; have made a commitment of ₹150 crore,” Diwan said.

The Council is planning a mega international event in November on the lines of Bio-Korea, Bio-Taiwan. “Bio-India would be an event to look up,” Diwan said.