Supporting the Startup Revolution in India: PerkinElmer
Interview

Supporting the Startup Revolution in India: PerkinElmer

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Dr Ruchi Sogarwal

In the bid to empower startups and innovations, the Central Government has set up Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), National Innovation Foundation, Atal Innovation Mission,  etc. After seeing some of the great startups from the grassroots, PerkinElmer decided to contribute in the national initiative of ‘Startup India’ and ‘Skills and Enterprensurship’, says Dr Ruchi Sogarwal, DGM–South Asia, PerkinElmer Inc, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Q You have announced  a collaboration with the Government to promote startups in the Biotech domain in India. Can you please elaborate about this agreement  and how this idea evolved?

There are various initiatives taken by the Government in the last couple of years to empower startup by setting up Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, National Innovation Foundation, Atal Innovation Mission, etc. Last year, we got an opportunity to participate in the ‘Festival of innovation’ inaugurated by HonorablePranab Mukherjiformer President of India. After seeing some of the great startups from the grassroots, we, at PerkinElmer were so inspired and decided to contribute in the national initiative of ‘Startup India’ and ‘Skills and Enterprensurship’.

We had multiple level discussions with various stakeholders in the Government like the Indian Council of Medical Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Food, Invest India, etc., and also with Indian young innovators/entrepreneurs to understand howshould wecontribute to make the journey – from the ideation stage to the commercialisation of productssuccessful. The most common areas suggested for industry engagement was to support in validating the business potential of the idea and provide formal mentoring and collaboration to execute the journey from ideation to commercial.

With that all learning, we reached out to a design of this  collaboration. Since BIRAC, set up under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, supports entrepreneurs and startups at different stages of innovation, so we agreed to collaborate on a common goal to develop a complete ecosystem from an innovative idea to employment creation and generation, to domestic and global markets addressing nationally relevant high quality and affordable product development needs.

Q What is the PerkinElmer’s philosophy behind supporting the Biotech Innovation and Startup Ecosystem in India through this partnership?

At PerkinElmer, we are passionate about our work and the  positive impacts we create for our customers, our community and our environment. Every day we strive to make life better.  Our achievements are built on a solid foundation of core values that inspire action, integrity, teamwork and outstanding results. These values form the basis for decision-making and actions at PerkinElmer – both as individuals and as a company.

We have a direct presence in 150 countries,  in which we work ‘in country’, ‘for country’ and ‘by country’. Curiosity and the pursuit of insights fuel our productivity, and innovation drives our business. We boldly champion new, innovative and breakthrough ideas, while attentively managing risks.With this philosophy, we build our collaboration with BIRAC for the common objectives in the promotion of India-led innovation, research and development, and enhancement of international linkages.

Q One of the key issues reported by the young entrepreneurs is the limited understanding of ‘in licensing’technology for start up company? As an American multinational company, what is your  perspective and learning on in-licensing and what are the keys to successful in-licensing technology?

At PerkinElmer, one of the ways we are interested in pursuing business development  is via in-licensing. We have extensive experience developing a wide range of technologies for drug screening, biotechnology, clinical, academic and applied markets. We hold significant intellectual property rights and licenses in several key areas that form a foundation for our diverse portfolio.

In designing new products and services, companies may consider licensing technology as a means of getting to market quickly while reducing risk at the development stage. However, the success of the ‘in-licensing’ technology depends on identifying the risks at an early stage in the process, then determininghow to process based on your ability to manage potential risks.So, there must be a clear understanding of three key issues; (a) how the technology will be used, (b) the risks associated with its development and application and who from either side will own which deliverable, and (c) how the economics of the deal will work, i.e. clarity around how and when the license will be monetized for the licensor and what shape will the rights take for the licensee. Properly navigating key issues and decision points will help to avoid or minimize risks and get optimal benefit from the transaction. Therefore, thorough due-diligence for in-licensing transactions is needed from technology, legal, business plan perspective, and then establishing the economics of the agreement accordingly to be mutually agreeable to both the parties, i.e. licensor and licensee.

Q What is your key message to the young entrepreneurs/ start ups based on your experience of ‘in-licensing’ technology?

 When negotiating a license, regardless of which side of the transaction you’re on, there are the key business terms, which you need to be concerned about.For example – let’s be clear that what is being licensed?Any kind of intellectual property such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, source code, logos, and trade secrets etc., can be licensed.What rights are being conveyed or granted?,Who will defend the license in case of infringements or litigations?,If you license a technology into your company, do you have the rights to license it again, that means whether you have rights to sublicense? This may be very important if you plan to incorporate it into your products.Other key business elements, particularly important for start-ups is, How will you pay for in licensing, how and who will calculate the basis for the payment calculation – will this be a third party or would we provide / seek audit rights to ensure there is a fair assessment for each period of payment? Lastly, there is an important clause which start-ups should understand carefully, i.e.what are dispute settlement clauses or exit clauses in licensing transaction for either party in case of a deadlock or misalignment. This is especially critical to make sure there is clarity to resolve any significant disagreements?

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