Ashok Soota, IT veteran, has announced the creation of SKAN, a not-for-profit entity in the private sector exclusively for medical research. He has also committed Rs 200 to fund the initiative.
SKAN will conduct research activities through “reputed” partners and directly in-house. The strategic partner for Neurological research is the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc), according to a press statement.
CBR is putting together a consortium to handle the first project on Parkinson’s disease. The strategic partner for Ageing is the upcoming St John’s Geriatric Centre (SJGC), to be located on the St John’s Hospital campus. Soota has agreed to fund the setting up of the Centre for Research in Ageing and Geriatrics (CRAG) at the SJGC and to support joint projects. In Ageing, the approach will be to go wide into relatively under-researched areas and will include the establishment of a large community-based research cohort. For Neurological research, the plan will be to go deep into select areas like Parkinson’s disease, Bipolar disorders, strokes and other Cerebrovascular Disorders.
For problems related to both ageing and neurological disorders, the philosophy of the research will include searching for kinder, gentler therapies; delaying the onset and slowing down the progression of the disease and providing persons with a better quality of life even as they live with the illness.
Of the announced funds commitment of Rs 200 crores for SKAN, Rs 100 crores is earmarked for partners such as St John’s, Centre for Brain Research (CBR), IIT-Roorkee, NIMHANS and any new partners which may be added. The remaining Rs 100 crores are earmarked for investments in SKAN and direct projects within the organisation.
“It will take 10 years to build a world-class institution for Ageing and Neurological research. I am grateful to two eminent leaders who have agreed to take charge as Chairpersons for the two divisions in case of exigency to me if line leadership is not ready to take charge. I have had this exigency-based arrangement in every organisation I started, be it MindTree or Happiest Minds,” Ashok Soota said.