Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation Program announces first round of grant awardees

Made in India innovations ‘early stage typhoid diagnosis and antibiotic susceptibility test’ and ‘wearable nasal air purification device’ selected for the Resident Incubation Program

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Mr Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) launching the Pfizer-IIT Delhi Innovation Program in November, 2015. (File Photo)

New Delhi: ‘The Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation and IP Program’, an incubation accelerator initiative co-created by Pfizer and the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-Delhi), recently announced the first round of grant awardees. The projects selected under this platform aim to address India’s enormous need for healthcare innovations that are not only unique in tackling the current healthcare challenges but also cost-effective, scalable and easy to deploy. The innovators/startups will develop prototypes, which when scaled up, aims to improve the quality of lives of millions of people across the country.

Through these innovations, the start-ups would focus on providing solutions to air pollution, stroke-led disability and infectious diseases. The innovations are:

  1. Healthcare Innovation from Idea to IP (Resident Incubation Program)
  2. a) Early stage diagnosis & antibiotic susceptibility test of typhoid in 7 hours by Saurabh Singh
  3. b) Wearable nasal air purification device with minimal air flow resistance by Debayan Saha
  1. Healthcare Innovation only at IP stage
  2. c) Bioactive nanofiber for bone regeneration by Dr. Shilpa Dev, Virtisbiolabs
  3. d) Multiboard- an upper extremity workstation for rural India by Dr. Harpreet Sachdeva, AIIMS
  4. e) Green manufacturing of pharmaceutical intermediates using novel enzyme by Dr. Raj Kumar, Cellzyme Biotech

Resident incubation awardee Debayan Saha says, “We believe our solution is a breakthrough that is both current and forward-looking, aimed at serving large populations in the long run and will equip India to reduce burden of diseases that impede its economic development. We think discovering cures are significant scientific achievements for public health, however it is even more effective to prevent disease in the first place. It is important for innovations like ours to be encouraged and rewarded. The Pfizer IIT Delhi Innovation and IP program has really pushed us into a promising environment that aims to provide healthcare solutions to millions in the country.”

The Pfizer IIT Delhi Innovation and IP Program (PIDIIP) will provide funding support of upto 50 lakhs to propel India’s healthcare innovations from idea to IP. An incubation accelerator has been co-created by Pfizer and FITT at IIT-Delhi. 

Eager to address a major health challenge in India, Saurabh Singh, Co-founder of Valetude Primus Healthcare PvtLtd. and the second innovator to receive the Pfizer IIT Delhi grant says, “Bacterial infections continue to be a major cause of deaths globally, particularly in resource-poor settings. In the absence of rapid and affordable diagnostic solutions, patients are mostly administered a broad spectrum of antibiotics leading to antibiotic resistance and poor recovery. At present, typhoid diagnosis takes up to three days, but our portable and cost-effective innovation will help expedite diagnosis to seven hours and ensure treatment.”

“We are excited to announce and give the first set of grants to the selected innovators under our flagship project – Pfizer IIT Delhi Innovation and IP Program,” said S. Sridhar, Executive Director, Pfizer India, “With the winners of our program identified, the stage is set for advancements in healthcare that are born and brought up in India for the benefit of our people. Given this promising start, we want to maintain the momentum and work closely with FITT at IIT Delhi to help the innovators integrate and thrive in this new era of entrepreneurship and innovation in India. In doing so, this program falls right into the basket of the Government’s Start Up India Stand up India campaign that creates a vibrant innovation ecosystem in the country and enhances the creation of intellectual property.”

“Looking at the phenomenal response from the industry, we cannot wait to get started with the next phase of the Program. We look forward to more and more innovators seeking inspiration reach out to us” Sridhar added. Pfizer is set to launch the second phase of the Program in October 2016, wherein another set of healthcare innovations with be identified for resident incubation and IP support.

Dr Anil Wali, Managing Director, Foundation of Innovation and Technology Transfer, IIT Delhi said, “We were greatly encouraged by the diversity of applications received for the Pfizer IIT Delhi Innovation and IP Program from across the country.  Over the years we have noticed an upward trend in technology-based healthcare innovations that range from – health apps, to wearables that prevent illness, to intelligent diagnostics that predict or diagnose a disease. The five selected projects are great examples of indigenous healthcare innovations and demonstrate tremendous potential. Their teams are outstanding with the right caliber to understand the on-ground health challenges in India and have used their understanding to focus on solving very specific problems.”

During the Program, the two shortlisted innovators seeking comprehensive support to translate their healthcare ideas into patents, will be provided two years of residential incubation at IIT Delhi, capital boost of up to Rs. 50 lacs for each innovator, high-profile mentoring support from IIT Delhi’s faculty, access to infrastructure and prototyping laboratories, IP search and filing services, guidance from Pfizer’s global experts, and access to venture capitalists and other industry linkages. The three selected innovators under the IP filing support who already have a ready proof of concept and are seeking to obtain a patent, will be provided with access to IP attorneys and services and cover the patent fee under the Program, upto 3 lacs each.

The overarching objective of this Program is to nurture, support, celebrate and reward healthcare innovations that are Made in India. Echoing the company’s core belief in the value of innovation and science that benefits communities, the Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation and IP Program is an example of industry-academia collaboration that also supports Start up India Stand up India initiative launched by the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi.