Biotechnology startups in Chennai have a reason to rejoice. IIT Madras on Thursday inaugurated its bio-incubator on Thursday. The IIT-Madras Bio-Incubator will help the startups with ideas related to biotechnology in getting easy facilities and funding to expand their research and innovation.  The incubator was inaugurated by Bhaskar Ramamurthy, IIT Madras's director.

This initiative by IIT Madras is being supported by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIARC), which is a body of the central government.  BIARC has established several new and world-class incubators all around the country under the Bio-Incubator Support Scheme (BISS). Addressing the startups at the launch, Bhaskar said, “Even existing and less used technologies can be uplifted and rebranded to utilize it more.”

IIT-M's bio-incubator will provide office and lab space, scale-up facilities, centralized utilities, high-end equipment and technical support to these startups for the process development so that their technologies can mature and attain commercialization.

The Government of India has allocated Rs.10,000 crore for the development of entrepreneurship in the country. The startups that register with IIT-M for research in biotechnology will be provided with a seed funding of Rs.10 lakh along with the mentorship and training programme. They will also be provided with information on how to apply and obtain legal patents for their research.

The incubator will act as a platform for researchers with nascent ideas, who want to develop and commercialize their product. It will also act as an R&D base for companies that want to try new technologies. Through this platform, researchers will be able to realize their business opportunities and entrepreneurs will be able to gain technical advice from experts.

Currently, four companies have been enrolled in the programme. The companies have been screened by the IIT faculties and selected on the basis of their content and determination for research. Of these selected four, three of the founders are alumni of Indian Institute of Technology. Pirius Nanosystems Pvt Ltd., Vital Bioscientific Solutions, Yaathum Biotech and Fib-sol Life Technologies are the selected four startups.

According to Guhan Jayaraman, coordinator at IIT-M’s Bio-incubator, “The innovation space in biotechnology has expanded considerably in the last few years in the areas of computational and synthetic biology.”

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