BANGALORE BIO INNOVATION CENTRE: HELPING STARTUPS TO GROW AND INNOVATE
Over the years, mankind has witnessed innovation in every aspect connected to their life. Technology has revolutionized the way they connect and portray the world. However, behind every innovation, it resides years of research and development by an individual or team to bring out the finished product. Especially, the biotech and healthcare territory has seen a tremendous evolution in the last decade. Since the majority of these transformations has been brought to the light by research institutions or startups, it is quintessential that they are provided with the latest technologies, funding services and a conducive environment, where they can grow and flourish for the benefit of mankind.
A BRIEF OUTLOOK
Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre (BBC) is one such technologically sophisticated, translational research and entrepreneurship centre, which responsibly caters the essential needs of startups attached to Life Sciences. The foundation is a part of the Biotech Ecosystem and is established by the Karnataka Innovation and Technology Services (KITS) under the aegis of the Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka. BBC is stationed in Bangalore Helix Biotechnology Park, a bio-cluster in Electronic City Phase 1, and nurtures 45 physical companies invested with the Life Science arena. The centre is built on an area of 60,000 sqft. and consists of modular lab suites with huge central instrumentation facility. BBC started its operations in 2016 and has been instrumental towards developing products/technologies, having a huge social impact. BBC specializes in broad areas of life sciences namely, Healthcare (MedTech/Pharma/Bio-Pharma), Agriculture, Food/ Nutrition, Industrial Biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology. The centre has incorporated 400 employees till now and has successfully devised several patents and 15 technology-based products ready for launch. In short, the BBC possesses a unique framework towards creating national standards for incubation centres.
A SEASONED LEADER IN THE BOARD
BBC is led by Dr. Jitendra Kumar, a supremely nurtured persona from the Biotechnology arena. Dr. Kumar has acquired a Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, a prestigious national laboratory affiliated to Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. Afterward, he went offshore to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he worked on Leukemia. From there, he shifted to Ohio State University, Columbus OHIO (USA), and worked as a Post Doc on various cutting edge research projects associated with chromatin remodeling, mitochondrial phospholipase – its role in apoptosis and role of peroxides in inducing mitochondrial dysfunction in heart, liver, and brain. He also holds an MBA from the prestigious Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University and has led on of their team International Entrepreneurship Challenge, 2008 organized by Materials Research Society. Dr. Kumar has authored several internationally acclaimed peer-reviewed papers.
After a successful offshore expedition, he returned to India and joined Life Science Incubator at IKP Knowledge Park, Hyderabad as a Vice – President. There he actively companies, creating a pipeline of entrepreneurs through innovative models of team-building around the technologies. Presently, functioning as the MD and head of BBC, his area of concern include Incubating Innovations in Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, Biofuel/Bio-energy, and Pharma/ Healthcare. He is working closely with Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), Department of IT, BT and S&T, Govt of Karnataka, to create a vibrant Life Sciences Innovation cluster in Bangalore.
FACILITIES THAT CREATE THE PERFECT START-UP ECOSYSTEM
“Our Central Instrumentation facility is the main catalyzing factor for the creation of such a vibrant ecosystem,” says Dr. Kumar. BBC has structured the best Instrumentation facility in the country. Built with all the state-of-the-art upgrades, the facility provides all varieties of research and technical services to the innovators/ startups. The facility is committed to raising the bar of innovation and efficiency to international standards and It fosters multidisciplinary research needs in the broad areas of Life Sciences. BBC has also formed Environment, Health and Safety; and Agriculture, food and Nutrition departments. Along with this, BBC has its IP Cell, which assists Start-Ups to create IP framework, file IP and commercialize patents. Along with infrastructure, BBC responsively provides mentorship, funding opportunities, events & workshops and branding services. It has a Technical Advisory Resource Group (TARG), which analyses individual and Start-Up proposals to be incubated at BBC and further performs mentorship for startups at the centre. BBC has also crafted many collaborations with regional, national and international foundations to achieve the desired innovative ecosystem.
INNOVATIONS THAT NURTURED SUCCESS STORIES
Throughout the 4 years of successful business, BBC has welcomed startups from Industrial Biotechnology, Food & Nutrition, Agriculture, Environment, and Healthcare (Med tech/ Pharma). BBC has promisingly provided these multilingual startups with its wide range of technological innovations, funding services, infrastructure, etc. With access to a wide array of resources, these innovators/ startups conduct in-depth R&D to transform knowledge and ideas into products. Few innovative achievements of such start-ups are shown below: Innov4sight Health and Biomedical Systems Private Ltd: With a sole focus on fertility treatment, the firm has conceived two technological advancements. The first is, Fertimulator – Basically, it is a simulator device but is one of the prime products that help fertility specialists and embryologists to simulate Oocyte Retrieval Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and In Vitro Fertilization-Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET). The later version of this device is constituted with a Regenerative Medicine (RM), which helps IVF experts with endometrial deficiency treatment. Second, is the BAPC It is focused on endometrial regeneration. The prospect of this product is to be a “future medicine” for treating women infertility i.e. stimulating ovarian regeneration and oocyte production.
The firm’s contribution is honored with many notable accolades, few of which are:
- Winner of The India-Israel Innovation Challenge
- Winner @ ELEVATE100 – 2017 – Recognized as one of the 100 innovative startups in the State of Karnataka.
- Second Prize Winner @ HITCON 2017 by Ahmedabad University
Resources: String works on the intersections of biology, engineering, and chemistry. The firm delivers economic drivers for methane from waste to natural resources, by leveraging their tech-platform SIMP – String Integrated Methane Platform.
The firm has paid homage to many accolades such as: –
- Winner of the L’Oreal Innovation Runway award in Oct 2017 in Singapore., and many more.
- Winner of the BIRAC Innovator Award 2018, and many more.
SN Lifesciences: SN Lifesciences is aimed to develop novel diagnostics, prophylaxis and therapeutics for important animal and human disease. In the world emergency of COVID-19, SN Lifesciences has developed automated RNA isolation and isothermal amplification kit and it was launched by Dr C N Ashwathnarayan, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of IT, BT and S&T, Karnataka at Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre. This technology has the potential to reduce the cost of test kits drastically from the current price to as low as Rs 500.
Oxim labs: The portfolio of Oxim labs revolves around early detection and accurate identification of organisms causing infections. Simultaneously, the platform also works on determining whether the infection is drug-resistant. The USP of this team is it can undertake drug-resistant tests in only three hours, which often delays up to 3 days in other laboratories equipped with microbiology facilities. Oxim labs is also working on a COVID-19 rapid detection kit based on OmiX iAMP technology that works on the principle of isothermal amplification without the requirement of RT-PCR. This kit is suitable for near point of care testing.
The firm is awarded as the:
- Unitus StartHealth Competition Winner, 2015
- BIRAC Ignite Fellowship, 2016
- Longitude Prize, Discovery Awards Winner, 2016
EduBioSkills: The prime operation of this firm is to focus on designing and developing manufacturing & marketing innovative training products. Their product BioBoxTM is a constitution of Physical Kits with Reagents & Consumables supported by e-learning & assessment modules on the Learning Management System. The product is created with the fusion of Biotechnology, Educational technology, and SAAS based E-learning/ evaluation modules for higher education and professional training in the academic/industry focusing on Modern Biological Sciences. The firm has been the winner of ELEVATE 2019.
Pandorum Technologies Pvt. Ltd.: Pandorum has devised a Bio-inspired Corneal ‘ink’, which can be used as a ‘Liquid Cornea’ for therapeutic application and to ‘print’ Corneal lenticular for human implantation – to treat visual impairment due to corneal defect. The innovation is highly commended in the community as it helps people with a corneal defect to see again. Apart from this, they are constructing a mini liver platform, soon to be used in pre-clinical drug screening (discovery and development) by the pharmaceutical industries/CRO’s. The platform is time and cost-effective for new drug discovery and formulates affordable drugs for patients.
Notable awards and achievements include:
- First prize at All India Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Student Team (BEST) Contest- 2010.
- “BioExcellence Award” in the Biopharma and Healthcare sector by the Department of IT- BT and S&T, Govt. of Karnataka, and Association of Biotech Led Enterprises in 2016.
- 1ST place in the 2019 Entrepreneurship World Cup (India) and will be representing India in the global pitch competition in Riyadh in Nov 2019.
Next Big Innovation Labs: NBIL focuses on developing 3D cultured skin. Since chemical testing on animals has been restricted for decades, NBIL has focused on devising an alternative testing platform. 3D cultured skin is a gold standard alternative that comes at a high price and inconsistency from batch to batch. As such, NBIL has developed an economical and consistent product – Innoskin, that allows positioning cells with micron-level precision, thereby enhancing cell-to-cell interaction within the tissue construct and reducing the chances of batch-wise inconsistency.
For its economical and innovative contribution, NBIL has won notable accolades like :
- Idea2POC Grant in May 2017
- India Innovation Growth Program 2.0 in August 2017
- Golden Ticket for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in November 2017
Biofi Medical-Healthcare India Pvt Ltd: Biofi has devised a non – invasive Diabetic profiler at a very economical cost, which can detect the blood glucose levels along with diabetic complications. The device’s unique design helps in generating gentle blood pressure at the fingertips thereby, blocking the stray light along with visible range wavelength used to enhance the optical properties of a finger. The device also helps in detecting diabetic complications (ketoacidosis). BioFi is the winner of Elevate 100 and Startup Kick-Off.
PAVING THE WAY FOR STARTUPS TO GROW
From the day of its inception, BBC has focused on bridging the gap between technology and health to procure measures that can benefit society. This approach has helped various startups in the region to come to light with trendsetting innovations. However, the foremost hurdle for these innovators to grow is the non-availability of funding. BBC facilitates three varieties of government funding called Seed Fund, Idea2POC and ELEVATE 100. These Capital assistance initiatives help startups with developing innovative ideas, incubation, entrepreneurship thereby creating a bio-cluster working in synergy with ecosystem partners like other similar minded startups, SME’s, industry, investors, government organizations, policy think tanks and business organizations.
In addition to funding, BBC organizes events and workshops to help with a startup’s branding and networking. This helps in building collaborations with incubated and external firms as BBC provides the registrations for incubates to exhibit their companies during different interaction meets and expos. The centre also highlights all the awards, recognitions and achievements of incubates in National and International conferences.
INITIATIVE TOWARDS BATTLING COVID-19
The year 2020 has already become a witness to a variety of catastrophes in India, amongst which, the Novel Coronavirus has become the most chaotic trend. The dreaded pandemic is constantly spreading at a fast pace and the remedy is yet to be found. BBC believes innovative technologies/ products/solutions are the only assets that can devise measures to counter the outbreak. Based on this, on 14th May 2020, BBC has launched automated RNA isolation and isothermal amplification kit for COVID-19 developed jointly by BBC and SN Life sciences incubated at BBC. Dr. C N Ashwathnarayan, Honorable Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and Minister of IT, BT and S&T recently visited BBC and has asked their IT/BT department to create a committee that coordinates between government and private research firms to formulate protective measures to combat the crisis.
In addition to this, BBC is also scouting for innovators with ideas and mindset towards procuring a cure this epidemic. They are screening and sorting applications of innovators and their products. If it is selected through the TARG (Technical Advisory Resource Group) committee, BBC is ready to provide infrastructure/ equipment, networking, branding, and funding services to support the innovation.
ACCOLADES THAT PORTRAY THEIR FORTE
With years of experience and breakthrough developments, BBC has championed the path of bio- innovation in the country. Its consistency towards procuring enlightening merchandise has helped the society, especially the healthcare sectors.
For its unconquerable performance BBC has been commended as:
- Top Innovation enabler in Bengaluru
- Top incubation award by BioSpectrum
- BBC has signed MoU with the Japanese Trade Organization (JETRO), ICAR-IIHR, and nearly 10 educational institutes.
- BBC has been listed as the “The Most Innovative Biotech Solution Providers to watch 2019” by Insightsuccess.
ROAD MAP OF COMING YEARS
Following its preceding success, BBC is focused on nurturing startups that are concentrated on improving and innovating the sphere of Life Sciences. Apart from that, BBC has invested every piece of resources towards finding a solution to combat the global epidemic. BBC is also associated with the ABLE association, ISBA association, and are coordinating with research institutes, Journal Club, and regular meetings with incubates to stay updated with developments in the arena. With such an interconnected network BBC focuses on developing products that can benefit society and also help incubates in taking their growth to the crescendo.