Metaform Ventures, led by Nilesh Jain, has committed to invest 2 Million USD in its India Center of Excellence, to conduct research on tobacco cessation & harm reduction, with focus on smokeless tobacco (SLT) products like jarda, ghutka, khaini, etc.

The objective is to provide hard empirical data and evidence to encourage new harm reduction tools, cessation techniques and products for a tobacco-free India. Smokeless Tobacco use accounts for 90% of oral cancers in India or a total of about 300,000 deaths a year. Studies suggest that regular users have a significantly overall higher death rate compared to non-users, and experience increased risks for low birth weight and stillbirths in children of women who use SLT during pregnancy. They also increase risks of tuberculosis (TB) and heart disease.

“Innovative thinking & profound changes within this sector can contribute significantly to public health. Leading new research, supported by government-led policy interventions, can help deploy technology options to reduce risks and transform core SLT products”, Nilesh Jain, “This harm reduction research program complemented by efforts to stimulate innovation in the cessation market can make toxic SLT history and in the process save hundreds of thousands of lives”.

With an objective to perform the characterization of Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents in Indian smokeless tobacco products, the project is to test several smokeless tobacco products across India. The data generated through this research will be useful for regulators and product innovators, & will help create capacity for independent research in India. Secondly, provided users with more options to choose from, thereby motivating them to move towards safer options, & reduced harm.

This highlights new research data to enable clinicians, regulators, and researchers with valuable information for considering the potential health effects that may result from the use of Indian SLT products and evaluate other harm reduction efforts via cessation techniques or THR products like SNUS.

“Our approach is very simple – to generate robust, credible data that will not only fill the current gap in research but also spur interest across the research community to become proactive in setting up lab testing infrastructure for Indian SLT product characterization and building research capacity. This focus on HPHC SLT characterization would not only massively improve the innovation of cost-effective SLTs but also help researchers to reduce some of the highest oral cancer death rates and tobacco-related disability rates.”, Nilesh Jain

Metaform Ventures, led by an angel investor and serial entrepreneur Nilesh Jain is an investment fund based out of Silicon Valley, California. Most recently, the fund had backed Clinivantage Healthcare, HeyDeeDee, Xplorabox, Log9 Materials and Picostone.

 

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