The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and PSG - Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Park (PSG STEP) have set up a biotechnology incubation facility here that can accommodate about 25 innovators.
The council has sanctioned ₹3.1 crore and the institute has earmarked 6,100 sq.ft for the facility. About 3,000 sq.ft has been developed in the first phase and the first round of funding of ₹2 crore has been received.
According to K. Suresh Kumar, Executive Director of PSG STEP, about 10 applicants have been identified as incubatees. They will use the facility for three to five years. The centre has capacity for 10 entrepreneurs to have office and laboratory space and another 15 innovators to have innovation laboratories.
Manish Diwan, Head of Strategic Partnership and Entrepreneurship Development of the Council, said the BIRAC has 41 incubators across the country and nine of it are in private institutions. Every year, it is adding 10 incubators and focus is given to tier-two cities and regions not covered so far. “There is a lot of infusement through a variety of schemes that will help the incubatees from testing to developing proof of concept to commercialisation of the products.” The council encourages networking among incubators within the country and abroad and identifies and sends startups for international events.
“We are creating a lot of emphasis on eco system connect,” he said.
So far, BIRAC has had over 1000 innovators and entrepreneurs at its incubators, commercialised 125 products, and got partner funding for 60 startups.
Regarding funding support, Mr. Diwan said the Department of Biotechnology has created an innovation fund. When BIRAC invests in a startup, its fund partners commit more. It has six partners in the first round of funding and committed ₹82 crore. In the second round, it committed ₹150 crore and ₹300 crore is expected to be the total amount that will be invested, including funding from the identified partners. This is for any startup in the biotechnology space.
There are also seed funding and product commercialisation fund support.
The BIRAC has urged the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to permit CSR funding so that the startups can have access to advanced tools for validation of ideas, etc. These tools can be made available through common facilities. The CSR funding can be allowed to create the common facilities. “This request is under consideration of the Ministry,” he said.