First cohort of RICH programme for medtech start-ups takes shape

Representational Image.  

Ten start-ups, including four from the city, have been selected for the first cohort of the Acceleration Initiative for Diagnostics programme, the Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) said on Thursday.

Designed as a multi-stakeholder alliance to identify and nurture best start-ups in the diagnostics space, the programme is aimed at building a strong ecosystem of start-ups, innovators, hospitals, clinicians and mentors to help those selected access facilities, equipment and expertise, a release said. RICH is an initiative of the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to the government of India and the Telangana government.

The programme has been developed to address challenges faced by start-ups in the rapidly growing med-tech domain. It seeks to leverage Hyderabad’s position as the ‘pharma capital of India’ and presence of the country’s largest med-tech park, a number of research institutions and over 15 life science incubators and other supporting facilities in Telangana.

RICH Director General Ajit Rangnekar said the pandemic has “underlined the need for accelerated research in diagnostics followed by a rapid go-to-market for such innovations which can help us deal with such medical emergencies.”

The start-ups from Hyderabad that have been selected are: Aidia Health that has developed a hand-held smart dental instrument to visualise dental pulp chamber and canal orifice for root canal treatment; Healthkon, which has integrated medical-grade point-of-care devices to provide remote monitoring and care; Onward Assist that has developed a module combining cloud-based telepathology software with AI-based image analysis tools for automated assistance to cancer pathologists; and Sparcolife Digital Healthcare Technologies working on a building a contactless non-invasive multidimensional multimodal screening and assessment System to assess mental, neurological and substance use conditions.

Other shortlisted are: Bengaluru-based Aikenist Technologies providing AI-accelerated imaging solutions for diagnostic centres and hospitals; Briota Technologies in Pune that has developed COVID-19-safe AI based Spirometry device to enable diagnosis and better management of respiratory disorders; and Kochi-based Medtra Innovative Technologies which has developed a vein tracking device that uses augmented reality to reduce the number of failed attempts during intravenous procedures.

Medzak Healthcare, based in New Delhi, which has created a multi-use, point-of-care and portable technology solution for diagnosing different ocular diseases, features and abnormalities; Primary Healthtech from Guwahati which uses nanotechnology, electronics, and innovative design for early detection of chronic diseases and specific biomarkers to provide a complete health report of kidney with only a few drops of blood and urine; and Toronto-based Enrich Bioscience offering an AI-based (pattern recognition) Liquid Biopsy MRD test for cancer detection from blood without compromising on sensitivity and specificity are other start-ups that have been selected.

A total of 76 applications from India, Canada, USA and South Korea were received and evaluated by a panel constituting thematic experts and industry leaders. The start-ups will receive a number of benefits in the coming six months, including incubation at Atal Incubation Centre – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (AIC-CCMB), access to testbeds under the Project Tej scheme at partner hospitals, access to test samples, and validation support. They will also receive an acceleration grant of ₹ 2 lakh each.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 12:11:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/first-cohort-of-rich-programme-for-medtech-start-ups-takes-shape/article34330278.ece

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