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Biotech Innovation Ecosystem – Strategizing the Next Leap

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The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Undertaking under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India organized its 5th Innovators Meet at the Mapple Emerald, New Delhi.

The two-day event which is a part of BIRAC’s continuous efforts to foster innovation and entrepreneurship started on September 22, 2016 (Thursday) and continues till September 23, 2016 (Friday). The theme of discussion at the meet is ‘Biotech Innovation Ecosystem – Strategizing the Next Leap’The event was attended by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan as Chief Guest and Guest of Honour, Minister of State (MoS), Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri YS Chowdary.

Over 350 participants attended the event including Yigal Erlich, The Yozma Group and Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, Global TiE from Silicon Valley along with other senior policy makers, industrialists, startups and entrepreneurs.

Day 1 of the meet started with an open session between high-level investors and innovators. An Innovation Market place featuring 25 innovators was held followed by the Inaugural session.

Inaugurating the meet the Chief Guest – Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences said, “India is the land of innovations and it gives me great pleasure to see such a large number of entrepreneurs and innovators showcasing their ideas. As per the vision of the Prime Minister, this government is doing everything within its power to give Indian entrepreneurs a platform to take their ideas to the world and vie with the best. The BIRAC Innovators Meet is one such platform which brings entrepreneurs and investors together and catalyzes an open discussion between them.”

The Guest of Honour- Shri YS Chowdary, MoS, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences in his addressing audience stated, “Over the last 5 years, a foundation has been laid for an innovation driven biotech enterprise in the country. DBT’s National Biotech Development Strategy for 2015-2020 has defined the policy outline to achieve the next transition for the Indian biotechnology. The Government is keen on making India the pioneer of innovation. We have jumped 15 places in the Innovation Index and we are now on the way to continued growth in the innovation sphere. It is important that the excellent work done by BIRAC in creating the Ecosystem is scaled up. It is important to work with all stakeholders especially states. I am confident that we can scale up this model to spread across the country.”

Prof. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, DBT and Chairman, BIRAC also mentioned that the changing ecosystem has been driven by several elements such as public funding agencies, angel funding and VC funding.

He also said, “We are more focused on research and innovation than ever before and it is yielding results. Our job is to be present at every stage of the innovation ecosystem so that we are in a position to support innovators by helping take their idea and proof-of-concept to the market. Institutions such as BIRAC are committed to promoting affordable innovation in key social sectors in order to achieve the larger goal and mission of an innovation-driven Indian Biotech Enterprise.”

Tracing the Journey of BIRAC over the last 5 years, Dr. Renu Swarup, Senior Advisor, Department of Biotechnology and Managing Director, BIRAC said, “BIRAC has been a major catalyst for the growth of the Biotech Innovation Ecosystem in the country. We are today ready to take the next leap. Today with over 500 Start ups and SME’s, 100 Entrepreneurs being a part of this ecosystem, we have nearly 50 products in different stages of development and commercialization. Our target is scaling this 10 times in the next 5 years. We are confident that with the enthusiasm we see in the community we can do this”. 

“The world changed after India gave it the zero (0). India is known for its contribution to invention and innovation. There is a lot that Israel and India can learn from each other. After overseeing an entrepreneurial and innovation revolution in Israel, I am glad to be able to share our learnings and interact with budding entrepreneurs and innovators of India. India is poised to become a major biotechnology hub in the world and sustained support is crucial,” said Yigal Erlich, Founder Yozma Group.

Later in the evening, a panel comprising, Prof. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, DBT; Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology; Mr. Erlich; and others deliberated on the emerging landscape of private venture funding in the country, especially in the life sciences arena.

The Innovators meet continued on September 23, Friday with a plenary talk by Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, Global TiE Silicon Valley and a panel discussion on ‘Boosting Technology Development & Translation from Academia” scheduled for the day.

 

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