The Karnataka government’s ambitious initiative of Bangalore Bio Innovation Centre, which houses life science start-ups, has enabled return on investment for the department of IT, biotechnology and science and technology. Within a short span of two and half years since its inception, the Centre has emerged as the largest science and technology business incubator with over 40 start-ups, 10 technologies/products ready for launch and generated employment for around 400 people.
The government’s initiatives cannot be measured in terms of financial returns but the social returns have been quite high. For instance, introduction of around 10 technologies/products will have huge social impact. They are now ready for launch with at least 15 patents having been filed and another 20 more in pipeline. Also, while the department has invested around Rs.35 crore in creating the infrastructure, around Rs.200 crore of private capital has been attracted by incubatees combined together. All these social returns are happening at exponential rates, Dr. Jitendra Kumar, managing director, Bangalore Bio Innovation Centre told Pharmabiz in an email.
The Centre has attracted around 40 start-ups that are physically located. Apart from that, around 30 start-ups have been funded through ‘idea2PoC’ programme where under the ‘Elevate 100’ scheme in lifesciences to identify and nurture innovative start-ups, the Bangalore Bio Innovation Centre is an implementation partner for the Department of IT, BT and S&T.
The state government is offering financial assistance to start-ups through its seed funding scheme of idea2PoC/Elevate and venture funding through KITVEN funds. It also provides an annual grants to Bangalore Bio Innovation Centre, he added.
Our future efforts will be to create scale up facilities such as pilot scale fermenters, GMP (good manufacturing practice) accredited labs for clinical production at pilot scale and an animal house for pre-clinical development, said Dr. Kumar.
The lifesciences start-ups are booming in Bengaluru. It is the ease of setting up a life science start up that has positively affected the ecosystem. The entry cost has been substantially reduced by the government through Bangalore Bio Innovation Centre’s state-of-the art infrastructure and equipment facility, mentorship, branding, networking and funding support. However, scale up and availability of early stage venture funding is still a challenge for start ups, he noted.
There are similar efforts in other states too. However, Bangalore Bio Innovation Centre model under Section 8 of the Not for Profit Company as an undertaking of government of Karnataka is a unique model that no other state has developed so far. Most of the initiatives in other states hinge on identifying an academic institution to host an incubator and government support is external in nature. The latter model has been already implemented by Department of IT, BT and S&T, through setting up of various other incubation centres.
The start-ups in lifesciences are mostly concentrating on medical devices and diagnostics, food and nutraceuticals and allied agricultural areas. This is because gestation period and capital investment is less. The start-ups are reaching out for global linkages to tap global markets and venture funding, said Dr. Kumar.