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AstraZeneca partners with NASSCOM

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The partnership between the two organisations will incubate start-ups in bringing innovative and frugal solutions that can help in the management of NCDs

AstraZeneca has partnered with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) IoT Centre of Excellence to set up an accelerator programme to support Indian start-ups for developing new innovative solutions to NCD care in India and beyond. Under this collaboration, the two organisations will incubate start-ups in bringing innovative and frugal solutions that can help in the management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two for an incubation centre in Bengaluru during Unnati Healthcare 2.0 Day in Delhi.

AstraZeneca’s Indian and Swedish partners aspire to the ambitions of the India-Sweden innovation partnership for a sustainable future, as agreed upon last year by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Taking advantage of the new opportunities created by the Digital India initiative, they aim to create new innovative solutions for patients with diseases like asthma, diabetes and cancer in India and beyond.

Speaking at the occasion, R Ramanan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission- NITI Ayog, informed that 5,400 tinkering labs have been launched under Atal Innovation Mission so far. “We are promoting ‘New India Challenges’ for product innovation. Till date, we have already organised 35 such challenges, along with five ministries,” he notified.

Also, present at the occasion were Leif Johansson, Chairman, AstraZeneca, along with Professor Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research; R Chandrashekhar, former President, NASSCOM and Sanjeev Malhotra, CEO, CoE—IoT, NASSCOM.

Johansson commended the Ayushman Bharat scheme with regards to the Indian healthcare by saying that the scheme aims to shield millions from health risks. He also said, “We are pleased to collaborate with the government, start-up eco-system and industry partners to achieve the shared vision of making meaningful interventions in improving the lives of patients impacted by non-communicable diseases in India.”

Talking about telemedicines, he said, “Telemedicines make healthcare more accessible. It can especially benefit the people living in remote areas.”

In addition to it, Leon Wang, Executive Vice President, AstraZeneca, said that the company is committed to strengthen the healthcare in India and we hope that our innovative solutions will not only benefit Indian patients, but patients across the world.

Highlighting the Indian pharma sector, Professor Balram Bhargava said, “At least 60 per cent of generic medicines in the world are of Indian origin. We have about four million medical tourists in the country and India ranks number two in terms of medical tourism.”

At the event, AstraZeneca and its partners, Business Sweden, NASSCOM, Atal Innovation Mission-Niti Aayog and AGNIi also announced the finalists of the Unnati Healthcare Innovation Challenge.

Over 90 healthcare start-ups participated in this challenge from across India. The finalists — Agatsa Software, ChironX, MedIoTek Health Systems, PathShodh Healthcare, Predible Health, Ten3T Healthcare and Yostra Labs — were invited to present their ideas and were also handed over the citation. The selected winners among the finalists will receive mentorship support from AstraZeneca, which will contribute its unique healthcare domain expertise with the aim of helping the finalists bring their solutions to market.

Unnati is based on the spirit of India-Sweden joint declaration on innovation partnership for sustainable future to create on-the-ground collaboration through user-case driven innovation challenges. The Unnati Healthcare Innovation Challenge, a first-of-its-kind, was launched in November 2018 to accelerate innovative technologies that can provide affordable and accessible solutions for early screening and management of NCDs such as remote screening methods, point of care diagnostics and digital solutions that enable efficient data capture.

Selected startups will have access to NASSCOM’s innovation labs, development resources, cloud services and mentoring support from NASSCOM and AstraZeneca, including the opportunity to showcase their innovations in national and global platforms where the latter can showcase their products or services. This opportunity will be open for companies or individuals who are working in the therapeutic areas like diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer/oncology or respiratory with special focus on thematic areas like digital solutions, diagnosis and devices.

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