Biotech start ups get govt-backed equity fund

The BIRAC AcE Fund aims to accelerate growth of biotech startups

The Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, YS Chowdary, announced the launch of ‘BIRAC AcE Fund.’ The equity fund is aimed at addressing the pressing needs of accelerating the growth of entrepreneurs, in the field of biotechnology. This fund will be operated by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) a public sector undertaking under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India with incubators and business accelerators, as its partners.

Mandated to foster and promote innovation research in biotech industries specially start-ups and SMEs, BIRAC today has more than 100 young entrepreneurs, nearly 250 companies and start-ups and 15 incubators supported as an important part of the innovation ecosystem of the country.

Speaking on the occasion of the third foundation day of BIRAC in New Delhi recently, the minister expressed hope that this major step taken by the government would dramatically change the landscape of the biotech startup ecosystem in the country. He said that this is an important and a major decision wherein the government will be a partner in equity funding for start ups. The minister also mentioned several budgetary provisions that are aimed at encouraging self employment and start ups and said that a help-desk is proposed to be set up in his ministry for people wanting to know of these schemes.

Earlier the Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan who attended the Science & Technology Minister’s Conference of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in Brazil, gave his message to the conference. He said recent success stories in the field of biotech in India and also increased budgetary allocations by the government for innovation in the form of ATAL Innovation Fund etc. makes him believe that the target set for the biotech sector will be achieved.

Chowdary also inaugurated a two-day panel discussion, to make biotech one of the drivers of the ‘Make in India’ Programme. The theme for the foundation day is ‘Accelerating Innovations: India the Next Biotech Global Hub.’ Several eminent speakers from the field of biotech including senior bureaucrats from DIPP, ICMR, Department of Pharmaceuticals and senior industry leaders such as Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon will participate in panel discussions.

Among themes for discussion were topics like – India the next Global Biotech Hub: The status of our readiness?, India a Bio-manufacturing Hub: Bridging the Paradigm for Quality and Affordability, Leveraging Partnerships to Make in India: Collaborating with national and international partners for enhanced competency. A plenary talk on- ‘Make in India’: a perspective on the biotech sector: the opportunities, the enablers and the challenges, was also scheduled to be delivered by the Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon

Over 250 scientists, entrepreneurs and industry experts, and policy makers participated in the two-day event. The focus of the discussion would be on India’s readiness to meet the challenges of ‘Make in India’ in the biotech sector.

EP News BureauMumbai

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