face to face
“Bio-entrepreneurs must learn to do the
market assessment before taking up any idea”
Currently in its fourth year, the Biotechnology Industry Research
Assistance Council (BIRAC) has been widely acclaimed for its efforts
to create a vibrant start-up ecosystem in the bioscience sector. As a
follow up on its various initiatives, we spoke to Dr Renu Swarup,
Managing Director, BIRAC for the valuable insights into latest
happenings at the organization.
BY RAHUL KOUL
During the Foundation Day event, you talked about the
cross pollination of ideas in entrepreneur ecosystem.
Can you elaborate please?
Cross pollination of ideas is at every level in what we do at
the BIRAC. What I intended to convey was that we require
diverse ideas from diverse set of persons. These also come
from people from interdisciplinary areas who come together.
Now we see many new entrepreneurs who are engineers and
are working along with biologists on many projects.
The other is when you are looking at the academia industry
relationship. When you put them together; there is
emergence of new hybrid model of innovation. Both of
them have different strengths. The academia has sound
basic knowledge of basics and the industry has the
understanding of product phases its validation. So,
wherever these partnerships have come forward, they
have done seemingly well.
How do you look at the changing scenario in the biotech
The ecosystem is growing very fast. We see more startups
coming up and also it is good to see that the manufacturing
facilities we helped have also started functioning now. Many
small steps at home and unique collaborations at
international level have slowly picked up and leading to
One interesting thing is that now we are asking all our
incubation centres to increase their mentorship and business
mentoring programme. We have 15 incubators currently and
we are hoping that in next 4-5 years, we take the number to
50. Going from what the DBT has announced as a policy
document, BIRAC is a partner to implement that. Our action
plan is to have 4,000 startups in next 4-5 years. While we are
nearly touching 500 currently, we are aiming at least
minimum 2,000 by 2020. This figure refers to both the
BioVoiceNews | June 2016