The BioNEST-Panjab University, one of the youngest bio-incubators in India, and the only university-backed bio-incubator in the North India, has received the opportunity from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), the private sector arm of Deptt of Biotechnology( DBT) to become an Associate BIG Partner. The incubator as a partner for Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) will be able to help young innovators from the northern region (mainly) to apply, get evaluated, succeed and get incubated after receiving the grant of the BIG Award which amounts to money upto 50 lakhs per innovation.
BIRAC under its BIG scheme supports innovative ideas having a potential for commercialization. Till date, more than 500 ideas have been supported by the BIRAC under this particular initiative. Dr.Rohit Sharma, the Project Leader of BioNEST-PU said, “The incubator has successfully hosted multiple Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) Awardees in the past, providing them a landing space to build their technologies with the generous funding support received from BIRAC. In addition to that, we will now be able to not only host the BIG Awardees but also help them start from the scratch- to apply, get evaluated (at multiple levels) and succeed. Mentorship support is provided at all these stages along with the incubation support.”
Dr. Sharma also highlighted that the types of ideas to be supported by the BIG must primarily be from the following broad categories- healthcare, life sciences, diagnostics, medical devices, drugs, vaccines, drug formulations and delivery systems, while innovators with ideas for industrial biotechnology, agriculture and secondary agriculture, waste management, sanitation, clean energy and related areas can also apply for the same. The BIG Scheme and BioNEST’s support will prove to be ‘one of its kinds’ support system for the innovators/ start-ups to eventually be made stand-alone entities with complete R&D of their product in a tenure of 18 months.He also informed and added, “The 17th call for proposals under the BIG Scheme is open till 15th September 2020 and hope more innovators/start-ups working under the life-sciences umbrella will be able to apply reap the benefits with the collaborative efforts of BioNEST-PU.”
The BioNEST-PU was established in the year 2016 with generous funding support received from BIRAC and Panjab University, Chandigarh as a key step in empowering and nurturing young biotech entrepreneurs in the northern region of the country, Since its inception, the BioNEST-PU till date has been successful in hosting over 21 innovators on-board as resident start-ups and/or innovators. After having received multiple awards and achievements to its credit, the BioNEST-PU has added yet another feather to its cap.