BioVoice News June 2016 Issue 2 Volume 1 - Page 10

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 startup ecosystem? 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 the change. 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 10 BioVoiceNews | June 2016