Synthetic biology is ready to start flapping its wings in southern India. The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) located in Chennai has launched a bio-incubator assisted with 120 Million USD of funding from the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a body of the central government. In an effort to promote entrepreneurship in India, the central government has allocated around 1.5 Billion USD to development projects.
The incubator will provide start-ups with 150,000 USD, mentorship, space and equipment, utilities for product development and networking services. Four companies were accepted into the incubator, but IIT-M aspires to incubate 12-15 start-ups at full capacity. The four companies that were chosen as incubates were Purius Nanosystems, FIB-SOL Life Technologies, Vital Bioscientific Solutions and Yaathum Biotech. Alumni of IIT-M founded three of the companies chosen by the incubator. The IIT-M bio-incubator will also serve as an R&D base for companies looking to try new technologies.
There has been an increasing trend to increase investment in the life sciences with the recent development of accelerators dedicated solely to synthetic biology like Indie Bio. Guhan Jayaraman, coordinator at IIT-M’s Bio-incubator, notes “The innovation space in biotechnology has expanded considerably in the last few years in the areas of computational and synthetic biology.”