11 Bio-entrepreneurs win awards for digital health, medical devices & agri-biotech at BIRAC-NBEC

New Delhi: Eleven bio-entrepreneurs in topics as diverse as water and sanitation and maternal and child health to digital health, medical devices and agri-biotechnology have been declared winners of the National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC 2019) conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP). 

It was organised under the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council’s (BIRAC) Regional Entrepreneurship Centre (BREC), which is a joint initiative of C-CAMP and BIRAC. 

The winners bagged a cumulative amount of Rs 3 crore in cash prizes and investment opportunities, as well as an exclusive scope for mentorship from key industry leaders.

Divanshu of Alcheme was awarded the WIN Foundation cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh as well as their an investment opportunity of Rs 30 lakhs in water and sanitation category.

Mayur Shetty of Blackfrog Technologies Pvt Ltd, received the WIN Foundation cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh and also the WIN Foundation investment opportunity of Rs. 30 lakhs in maternal and child health category. Blackfrog also won the Social Alpha investment opportunity of $100,000 for the potential of their work in terms of social impact. 

Ragul Paramasivam, Chimertech Innovations LLP, won the Ankur Seeds award of Rs 5 lakh in agri-biotechnology category as well as the ID capital investment opportunity of $100,000 as agri-biotechnology, food and nutraceuticals entrepreneur; Shomeshwar Singh, 4S Medical Research Pvt Ltd, was awarded the Digital Health cash prize of Rs 5 lakh sponsored by HealthVenture, USA; Prakhar Jain, MicroX Labs, won the Applied Materials India award of Rs 5 lakh in med-tech innovation category; Rajesh Nandipati, Oncosimis Biotech Pvt Ltd received the Rs 5 lakh Excellence Prize sponsored by Biocon; and Asawari Kane, PadCare Labs was awarded the Novozymes Excellence Prize of Rs 3 lakh.

The Pfizer Entrepreneurship Award of Rs 3.5 lakh went to Arindam Ghatak, Biomoneta. Halagappa Eswarappa Shashidhar, CultivaAgriTech received the Mahyco cash prize of Rs 1 lakh in Agri-Biotechnology; and an investment opportunity of $75,000 USD from HealthVenture, USA in digital health was announced for Rohit Hiwale, Morphle Technologies Private Limited. A special prize from C-CAMP’s end was awarded to Shilpa Malik of Bioscan Research. 

Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, and Chairperson, BIRAC, Renu Swarup, said, “NBEC 2019 has witnessed 3,000 applications, a number rising every year, clearly indicative of a maturing ecosystem. The fact that applications have been received from places like Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Daman and Diu show that we have been able to enthuse young researchers and innovators across India to come forward with their ideas. Together, let us aim for India to be recognised as the number one bio startup nation in the world.”

Chief Guest and member of the Grand Jury, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, exhorted entrepreneurs to see their innovation from idea through product stage. She said, “I have deep gratitude to C-CAMP for having brought a platform as unique as NBEC to Indian bio entrepreneurship arena. NBEC is about celebrating new ideas and the potential impact these ideas can make to society. But, entrepreneurship is about how you monetise an idea and take it to market. So don’t wait for the perfect idea. Wait for that one good idea. Shape its commercialisation journey and scale it up. Because impact and true recognition lie only in scaling.”

A cohort of 65 startups gleaned from about 3,000 registrations across 33 States and Union Territories in the country participated in a 2 day Boot Camp and Mentoring Sessions with mentors from Centre for Innovation Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE)-IIM Ahmedabad prior to the finals.

A total of 18 of these were selected by a Jury on 13 December to pitch at the Grand Finale gala. The Grand Jury at the Finale consisted of eminent experts representing entire spectrum of biotech industry and investment sector.

The competition had 17 industry partners including international partners from the USA, France and Singapore onboard: WIN Foundation, Ankur Seeds, Applied Materials India, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Biocon, CIIE – IIM Ahmedabad, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), CNBC-TV18 Young Turks, GE, HealthVenture – USA, Hello Tomorrow, ID Capital, Kotak Private Equity, Mahyco, Novozymes, Pfizer, and Social Alpha.

Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, C-CAMP said, “CCAMP believes that through fostering deep science innovations we have an opportunity to make a major impact in India’s growth. CCAMP is dedicated to play this vital role and looks forward to working together with all towards building tomorrow’s innovations from India.”

Sunderarajan Padmanabhan is a contributor at India Science Wire.

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