Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Undertaking under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), is organizing its 5th Innovator’s Meet here on 22nd -23rd September, 2016. Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, presided over the inaugural ceremony as the Chief Guest and Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri Y.S. Chowdary was the Guest of Honour.
BIRAC Innovator’s Meet is an industry-academia interface facilitating national and global partners, providing innovators access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes. This would help in bringing innovation excellence to Indian biotech firms, make them globally competitive and facilitate novel, high quality and cost-effective affordable technologies.
In the National Biotechnology Development Strategy, 2015-2020, Bio-incubators would be scaled up to 50 and 5 new Bio-clusters would be formed. With over 500 Start ups and SMEs, 100 Entrepreneurs being a part of this ecosystem, BIRAC has nearly 50 products in different stages of development and commercialization. The target is scaling this 10 times in the next 5 years through initiatives like BIG (Biotechnology Ignition Grant), SITARE (supporting grass root student innovators), eYUVA (creating entrepreneurial culture in universities), BioNEST (nurturing entrepreneurship by establishing Bio Incubation Centres), tax exemptions to biotech startups in Budget 2015-16, inter alia.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Dr. Harsh Vardhan quoted Swami Vivekananda, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea”, and inspired a distinguished gathering of young innovators to follow their ideas and take risks to achieve path breaking innovations, research and development.
The Minister reiterated the vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi that this government is firmly standing behind each innovator and entrepreneur to support their ideas and through them find solutions to the challenges faced by the society. The Minister recounted extraordinary achievements in the field of Biotechnology in India like affordable rotavirus vaccine, 2G ethanol from biomass inter alia, and inspired the young innovators present.
Shri Y.S. Chowdary, in his address, highlighted the importance of “Right Investment at the Right Time, Right Place and Age in bringing a quantum jump in the field of innovation in Life Sciences.” There is a need to look beyond individual profits and losses and concentrate on Network Management to create an ecosystem for need-based research and original innovation in the country, he added.
The Keynote talk was delivered by Mr. Yigal Elrich, Founder, Chairman and Managing Partner, Yozma Group, Israel. He, as the founding father of the Israeli venture capital industry and one of the most prominent figures in the Israeli high-tech arena, interacted with the investors and other participants present during the event. He expressed that India is soon going to become the Biotech hub of the World.
The Meet started with an open session between high-level investors and innovators. An Innovation Market place showcasing innovative products and technologies from 25 innovators was held followed by the Inaugural session. There were over 350 participants including Mr. Yigal Erlich and Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, Global TiE from Silicon Valley and many other senior policy makers, industrialists, startups and entrepreneurs.
During the inaugural ceremony, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also presented the BIRAC Innovator Awards to the Best Innovations from all over the country. The Dignitaries also released the compendiums of BIRAC’s activities, its success stories and the ‘Make in India for Biotech – the way forward’ report (by Price Waterhouse Coopers) during the event.
On the first day, a panel comprising Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, DBT, Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Mr. Elrich and others deliberated on the emerging landscape of private venture funding in the country, especially in the life sciences arena.
On the second day, there will be a plenary talk by Dr. Dwivedi and panel discussions on topics like ‘Injecting Capital for the Next Leap: Investor’s perspectives’, ‘Boosting Technology Development & Translation from Academia’ and ‘Role of Disruptive Technologies like Internet of things, Precision Medicine in Indian Biotechnology Growth’.