Dr Jitendra Kumar appointed as new MD of BIRAC

In his previous stint as the Managing Director of Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre (BBC) for more than eight years, he was instrumental in nurturing many startups and innovations

New Delhi: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Dr Jitendra Kumar as the new Managing Director of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), an institution set up under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India.
Dr Jitendra Kumar currently serves as the Managing Director of the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre (BBC), a state-of-the-art translational research and entrepreneurship center catering to the needs of start-ups in life science. Possessing a rare combination of both research knowledge and business acumen, Dr Kumar has been instrumental in creating a pipeline of entrepreneurs and fostering commercialization in India.
Speaking exclusively to BioVoice News, Dr Jitendra Kumar expressed his happiness at the appointment yet also terming it a big responsibility. He chose to credit his colleagues and initiatives undertaken at BBC rather than take it as a personal accomplishment.
“The credit goes to the startups who have been doing wonderful work at the BBC. The centre has been supported by the state and central governments. It has undergone remarkable excellence within a short duration of time. The position offered to me is in fact the recognition of that. It is not my personal credit, but it goes to all the stakeholders who have propelled me to this position because of their hard work,” said Dr Kumar.
Outlining his priorities briefly, Dr Kumar added: “BIRAC has already achieved new heights and a transformative change that India is seeing as a startup nation at least in biotech. My first priority will be to make it more robust, and I will definitely try to create more programmes under the vision of my seniors like Secretary, DBT. I would like to see more partnerships coming with BIRAC at the state level. The bigger established industries and startups must exchange ideas, The increased handholding and support to the startups from such larger companies could help in creating a much stronger ecosystem.”
Dr Kumar holds a PhD degree in Biotechnology from Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh. He later completed his post-doctoral studies at University of Illinois, Chicago and Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio. He is the author on several internationally acclaimed peer reviewed papers.
Dr Kumar also holds an MBA degree from the prestigious Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University.
After returning from USA, he joined as a Vice- President of Life Science Incubator at IKP Knowledge Park, Hyderabad where he was involved in actively mentoring incubatee companies, creating a pipeline of entrepreneurs through innovative models, working with public R&D laboratories and universities to create entrepreneurial models of commercialization.
Later as the Director and Head of BBC, Dr Kumar’s current focus has been on incubating innovations is agriculture, food and nutrition, bioenergy and pharma & healthcare. He worked closely with Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka, to create a vibrant life sciences innovation cluster in Bangalore.
Dr Jitendra Kumar’s deep experience is expected to bring fresh energy into the functioning of the BIRAC that was incorporated on 20th March 2012 as a not-for-profit company. BIRAC has a focused mandate of strengthening and empowering the innovation research capacities of the biotech entrepreneur and providing an enabling ecosystem.