Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre: Helping Innovative Ideas Hatch

Dr Jitendra Kumar |MD|[Health and Biomedical Systems, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Biotechnology, Agriculture, OmiX Technology Platform]
Dr Jitendra Kumar | MD | Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre

While everyone speaks about how innovations are changing the face of the world, few talk about the research that goes behind it. What we are currently enjoying as the latest technology or an innovative marvel, might have actually taken years or may be decades of research to develop into its current form. As such, it is crucial that research companies, especially start-ups, be given a conducive environment where they can flourish to help mankind.

Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre (BBC) is one translational research centre catering to the needs of startups in the broad areas of Life Sciences viz., Health Care (MedTech/ Pharma/ Bio-Pharma), Agriculture, Food/Nutrition, Industrial Biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology. BBC is an initiative of Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka with funding support from Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. The centre is located in Bangalore Helix Biotechnology Park at Electronic city, and thrives between academic institutions like Institute of Biotechnology and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB), Centre for Human Genetics (CHG). The centre started functioning since April 2015 and has currently 38 startups being physically incubated and 7 graduated companies. BBC is envisioned to nurture bio-startups ecosystem and catalyse it’s growth to benefit the society at large and contribute to bio-economy. As a not for profit company and relationship builder, BBC supports quality programs and trainings that ensure strategic and progressive growth of innovation and entrepreneurship in Life Science. Recently BBC received the Award for being finalist in National Entrepreneurship Award National Centre for Excellence conferred by Chief Secretary to the Government of Karnataka, Shri Vijay Bhaskar T M, IAS

Nurturing Start-ups

Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre provide services such as Infrastructure/ Equipments, networking, branding, funding and mentoring to startups in the field of Healthcare, Agriculture, Food/Nutrition, Industrial Biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology. These startups utilize the facilities to conduct R&D and translate them into products. Many of the incubatees have commercialised their products based on technologies like Artificial Intelligence for diagnostic purpose, Point of care devices, Non- invasive testing devices, Customisable 3D printer, 3D printed skin, kits for diagnosis and Prosthetic foot. Some of the startups involved in developing breakthrough products are as detailed below.

OmiX Labs(OmiX) developed “The OmiX Technology Platform” designed to look at gene signatures for Antimicrobial resistance. They are also providing services pertaining to unitized room-temperature stable kits and automated assay setup.

Pandorum Technologies Private Limited (PTPL) is engaged in development of Bio-Engineered Human Cornea that can be used as Platform for in vitro toxicology and safety assessment and Lab Grown Mini Liver that can be used as Platform for pre-clinical drug discovery and development.

Innov4sight Health and Biomedical Systems Private Ltd.  is working on a device to simulate fertility factors called “FERTIMULATOR”. They are also conducting research on Biologically Activated Peptide Concentrate (BAPC) used for fertility factors regeneration.

Next Big Innovations Lab (NBIL)  a startup involved in development of Innoskin®, a 3D Bioprinted Human Skin and “TRIVIMA”, NBIL’s 3D Bioprinter. These are innovative breakthrough products that have gained recognition and award from established companies like Merck from Germany.

Enriching Mankind

The incubatees, both current and graduated, over time have developed products that are now helping companies and end-customers in several ways. Here are some products that are making a marked difference:

Innov4sight Health and Biomedical Systems Private Ltd. came up with two technologies in the field of fertility treatment. One is FERTIMULATOR, a simulator machine and one of the prime products of Innov4Sight which is covering simulation for fertility specialists and embryologists to simulate Oocyte Retrieval (OR), Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and In Vitro Fertilization-Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET). The newer version of FERTIMULATOR is incorporated with Regenerative Medicine (RM) services that is intended to help IVF experts in treating endometrial deficiency, one of the key factors causing infertility. Next is the BAPC as mentioned earlier, which is used for endometrial regeneration. The future prospects of this medicine is treatment of infertility in women to induce ovarian regeneration and oocyte production.

OmiX’s portfolio of products and services aim to create impact on millions of lives. They offer a platform for early detection and more accurate identification of organisms causing infections. At the same time, they are also determining whether the infection is potentially drug resistant. OmiX Labs can conduct drug resistant tests in only three hours, whereas conventional tests require a minimum of three days in laboratories equipped with microbiology facilities.

PTPL’s two breakthrough technologies include Bio-inspired Corneal ‘ink’ that can be used as ‘Liquid Cornea’ for therapeutic application and to ‘print’ Corneal lenticule for human implantation for treating visual impairment due to corneal defect. This has a social impact as this will restore the sight of many people with corneal defect. The other invention is mini liver platform (normal and diseased models) which will be used in pre-clinical drug screening (discovery and development) by the pharmaceutical industries/CRO’s. This model will significantly reduce the cost and time of new drug discovery resulting in affordable drugs available to the patients.

NBIL has focussed their research on finding alternative for testing of products on animals, which is currently banned and restricted. The current gold standard testing alternative, 3D cultured skin, is priced extremely high and has inconsistency from batch to batch. This has motivated the startup to develop Innoskin®, an economical and consistent product. Added to their portfolio is NBIL’s patented 3D Bioprinting technology which allows positioning of cells with micron level precision, thereby enhancing cell-to-cell interaction within the tissue construct and reducing the chances of batch-wise inconsistency.

An Experienced Motivator

Dr Jitendra Kumar, Managing Director, holds a PhD in Biotechnology from Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, a prestigious national laboratory affiliated to Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. Subsequently, he moved to University of Illinois at Chicago, where he worked on Leukemia. In the next stint as a Post Doc at Ohio State University, Columbus OHIO (USA) he worked on various cutting edge research projects. He is the author on several internationally acclaimed peer reviewed papers. He holds an MBA degree from prestigious Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. After returning from US, he joined as a Vice- President of Life Science Incubator at IKP Knowledge Park, Hyderabad where he was involved in actively mentoring Incubatee companies and creating pipeline of entrepreneurs through innovative models of team building around the technologies. As the Director & Head of BBC his current focus is on Incubating Innovations is Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, Biofuel/Bio-energy and Pharma/Healthcare. He is working closely with Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), Department of IT, BT and S&T, Govt of Karnataka, to create a vibrant Life Sciences Innovation cluster in Bangalore.

Helping Start-ups Grow

The startups at BBC are focussed primarily on delivering solutions to problems prevailing in the biotech market. The areas of research bridges the gap in technologies and hence offer competitive products to meet the demands of the market. This approach has fetched the startups competency in market. The key impediment for the start-ups to grow is the non-availability of funding. BBC facilitates government funding called “SEED FUND” for development of innovative ideas, incubation, entrepreneurship thereby creating a bio-cluster working in synergy with ecosystem partners like other similar-minded startups, SMEs, industry, investors, government organizations, policy think tanks and business organizations. This paves opportunities for networking to progress in their research and development. However, the main challenge faced by these startups during translation of research into products in market is the requirement of substantial investment. This stymie the growth and vision of startups and many fall into the “valley of death”.

Positive Vibes for the Future

BBC is mandated to nurture start-ups working in the broad areas of Life sciences with an aim to improve the quality, efficacy and sustainability of healthcare, agriculture, industrial & environmental biotechnology products. A holistic development can be achieved only when diversity and inclusivity is embedded in startups from the beginning to bring out inter-disciplinary innovations. BBC is fostering such a holistic growth among the startups through interaction and learning and for the greater benefit of society.

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