Ignite Life Science Foundation announced its first grant award for “pandemic preparedness” research to a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) and the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (Faridabad)
Following the receipt of a donation from Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw last month, Ignite Life Science Foundation awarded a grant to a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (Bengaluru) comprising Professor Raghavan Varadarajan, Dr Mrinmoy De and Dr Siddharth Jhunjhunwala, and Dr Amit Awasthi at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (Faridabad). The grant will be for three years and will fund research to develop the platform technologies for mRNA vaccine development.
Commenting on the award, Professor Shahid Jameel (Member – Scientific Advisory Board, Ignite LSF) said, “mRNA vaccine development technology is vital for India to mount a rapid and effective response to future pandemics. Successful execution of this project will seed the creation of much-needed capabilities in mRNA vaccine development in India. The investigators will not only work on developing a vaccine against new variants of SARS-Cov2 but also attempt to develop methods for the generation of thermostable RNA vaccines, which would be critical for resource-poor tropical regions of the world.”
Commenting on the award, Professor Varadarajan said, “we are delighted and honoured to be awarded this grant and would like to thank the Foundation and its anchor donor Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon, both for recognising the importance of this area of research and for pioneering a new funding modality in India to seed research in critical new areas in the life sciences.”
Dr Swami Subramaniam, CEO, Ignite LSF, congratulated the team and said, “Hopefully, this will only be the first of many more grants we award to carefully chosen investigators and curated projects to make a significant impact on challenging health problems. Our work at Ignite LSF is just beginning, and we count on the support of our Donors to create the greatest impact in the shortest time possible. I am convinced of the potential that strategic funding of this kind can have in helping Indian scientists create tangible impact through their work”
Congratulating Professor Raghavan Varadarajan and his team, Professor K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said, “Professor Varadarajan’s well-known excellence as one of our best scientists matches his zeal and ability to translate his research and talent to vaccines and therapy. Congratulations to him on receiving this research award from Ignite Life Science Foundation. As with his other efforts, I am sure that this one on developing mRNA vaccines will also meet with success. Congratulations too, to the Ignite LifeScience Foundation for initiating such awards that recognise excellence”