Tech industry veteran Ashok Soota on Sunday announced the creation of SKAN, a not-for-profit entity exclusively for medical research around ageing and neurological disorders and also made a financial commitment of ₹200 crore to fund the venture.
SKAN will conduct its research activities in-house also through partners. The Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at Indian Institute Science, Bangalore (IISc), will be its strategic partner for neurological research. CBR is currently putting together a consortium to handle the first project on Parkinson’s disease, as per a statement.
Of the ₹200 crore, a total of ₹100 crore has been earmarked for partners such as St. John’s, Centre for Brain Research (CBR), IIT-Roorkee, NIMHANS, and new partners who are joining in the future while the remaining ₹100 crore would be spent on SKAN's in-house projects.
For neurological research, the plan would be to go deep into select areas like Parkinson’s, bipolar, strokes and other cerebrovascular disorders.
Mr. Soota said, “It will take 10 years to build a world-class institution for ageing and neurological research. I am grateful to two eminent leaders who have agreed to take charge as chairpersons for the two divisions in case of exigency to me if line leadership is not ready to take charge. I have had this exigency-based arrangement in every organisation I started, be it MindTree or Happiest Minds.”
On the ageing front, the approach would be to go wide into relatively under-researched areas. A large community-based research cohort also would be set up. The proposed Centre for Research in Ageing and Geriatrics (CRAG) at SJGC, to be located on the St John’s Hospital campus, would be the strategic partner for SKAN's work around ageing.
For problems related to both ageing and neurological disorders, the philosophy of the research would include searching for kinder, gentler therapies; delaying the onset and slowing down the progression of the disease and providing persons a better quality of life even as they live with the illness, according to SKAN. SKAN is currently on the lookout for talent including CEOs for its Ageing and Neurological divisions.