DPIIT Considers Earmarking Funds for Biotechnology Startups
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is now considering to reserve a certain section of their funds from Funds of Funds for Startups (FFS) for new biotechnology ventures and startups to promote technologies and innovation in healthcare, nutrition, agriculture, and food.
The Indian biotechnology system is still very nascent when compared to the western world. Lack of infrastructure, technology and professional are some of the problems faced by the biotech sector in India. Now, various startups and new ventures in the Biotech industry have been sprung up to overcome this technology and even infrastructure by harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Biotechnology startups are defined as companies in the sector which are 10 years old or less, in India. The Indian biotechnology segment is divided into 5 major segments,i.e, biopharma, bio-agriculture, bio services, bioinformatics, and bio-industrial. The initiatives Increased investment, outsourcing activities, export and government’s focus on the sector can accelerate the growth of biotechnology.
Since the beginning of the Startup India program i.e, around three years ago, our government has spent about INR 380 Cr of their funds on biotechnology sector to develop biotechnology startups, new bio-clusters, and bio-incubators. And out of this about INR 196 Cr of their funds were spent on 4 bio-clusters and around INR 174 Cr was spent on 41 bio-incubators through the BioNEST scheme under Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), which is a not-for-profit public sector enterprise under the Department of Biotechnology. Under Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council seed fund, about 13 bio-incubators were funded for around INR 8.5 Cr funds in the last 3 years.
The bio-incubation provides infrastructure, technology, mentorship and networking platforms that can enhance the entrepreneurial potential and even the productivity of the biotechnology startups.
In the year 2017-18, the Department of Biotechnology also set up funds for biotechnology startups called Biotechnology Innovation Fund-AcE Funds (Accelerating Entrepreneurs) with a total cost of around INR 150 Cr for three years to attract investment in this area. These steps by DBT and funds for biotechnology sector are intended to plug the gap of the ‘Valley of Death’ encountered by most of the Biotechnology startups during their product development cycle as well as the growth phase due to their high operating cost.
Formerly, DPIIT had also set aside some of their funds to promote women-centric ventures and even women-led startups to promote women entrepreneurs in the biotechnology field.
DPIIT is now considering to reserve a certain section of their funds from Funds of Funds for Startups (FFS) for new biotechnology ventures and startups to promote technologies and innovation in healthcare, nutrition, agriculture, and food.
India had the 3rd highest growth in the number of biotech-related patents published and had the 2nd highest growth in the number of medical technology-related patents, last year.