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Maiden biopharma mission Innovate in India (i3) launched

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The programme will focus on development of vaccines for diseases like dengue, cervical cancer, bio-therapeutics

The first ever industry-academia mission to accelerate biopharmaceutical development in India was recently launched by Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology in New Delhi. The research and development programme named ‘Innovate in India’ (i3), was officially launched in collaboration with the World Bank to accelerate the growth of the bio-pharmaceutical sector in the country.

The programme will witness an investment of $250 million with $125 million as a loan from the World Bank. It aspires to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector.

The maiden industry-academia mission will specifically focus to develop new vaccines for diseases like dengue and cervical cancer, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices. It will accelerate bio pharmaceutical development in India.

Vardhan said, “The mission will be a game-changer for the Indian bio- pharmaceutical industry and aims to target at least 6-10 products in the next five years, which will increase India’s share in the sector from 2.8 to five per cent in the coming years.”

“This is for the first time that the World Bank has given a loan for any research and development programme in the country. It will also help us collaborate with global leaders in the field from the academia and the industry and this will ultimately help the country,” Vardhan said.

Expanding on the scope of the programme, Dr K VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, which is executing the project, said India already has a good infrastructure and ecosystem that has been built over the years.

“The mission is a second step to take forward the work to another level. It will help nurture next generation technical skills, promote entrepreneurship and support institutions in adoption of global innovations, technologies and licensing models. It will transform India into a global hub for cutting-edge biotechnology research and development,” VijayRaghavan added.

Renu Swarup, MD, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a PSU under the DBT, said the guidance to the programme will be provided by the Inter- Ministerial Steering Committee.

The steering committee will have members from various ministries who will be supported by Programme Technical Advisory Group comprising global and national leaders from the industry and academia.

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