The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) under the Department of Biotechnology celebrated its sixth foundation day here today with the launching of a partnership with PerkinElmer, US-based multinational corporation that focused on the business areas of human and environmental health.

The new partnership is designed to promote a portfolio of Indian-led revenue-based innovations and startups in multidisciplinary areas comprising of medical devices, point of care products, algorithms and software in thrust areas including maternal health, newborn health and food.

The partnership will provide support to innovators in terms of funding, mentorship and incubation space. PerkinElmer would be associated from the early stages itself. Consequently, innovators are expected to gain much, among other things, through better validation of products and technologies and thus have enhanced global competitiveness.

The foundation day celebrations also saw the announcement of a new initiative in the area of anti-microbial resistance under the Grand Challenges India Programme promoted by DBT and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The new initiative focused on encouraging innovations in surveillance data, technologies and products and removing antibiotics from effluents to tackle the problem of anti-microbial resistance more effectively.

Inaugurating the celebrations, Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan, urged BIRAC to hold a brainstorming session with all stakeholders to help create an atmosphere for finding innovative and affordable solutions for the various problems facing the country in different sectors at the earliest. He also suggested to Member (Health) of NitiAayog, Prof. Vinod K. Paul, who was present at the function, to help set up a mechanism through which scientists, clinicians and technologies could interact on a regular basis to come up inexpensive solutions in the health sector.

Dr Vinod Paul, in his address earlier, commended BIRAC for playing a pivotal role in strengthening and empowering emerging biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation efforts aimed at various needs of the country.

On the occasion, the Minister also felicitated Prof G Padmanabhan, former Director and current Honorary Professor of the Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru, on the occasion of his 80th birthday and released the second volume of his memoirs titled `Doing science in India: My second innings’. The book, which has been brought out by IISc, dealt with his life and work since 1998, when he retired as IISc Director. The first volume had dealt with his life and work till 1998 and had been published by VigyanPrasar.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also presented awards to preliminary winners of BIRAC’s Solutions for Community Health (SoCH) programme. The innovation challenge awards are aimed at developing platform technologies for reducing disease burden and better sanitation and waste recycling. The winners will have to develop minimal viable prototypes within six months. Each of them has been provided with a sum of Rs 15 lakh for the purpose. Once they develop the prototypes, they will compete again for a large award of Rs 50 lakh.

Twitter handle: @ndpsr

(India Science Wire)