Mumbai, India - Following a competitive pitch, three startups have been awarded up to £100,000 each (equivalent in INR 90 Lakhs) to further develop their rapid diagnostic tests with an aim to reduce avoidable use and better steer the use of antibiotics.
The grant, termed a ‘Boost Grant’, is sponsored by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Govt. Of India Enterprise, as part of longstanding partnership with UK-based innovation foundation Nesta, which run the Longitude Prize.
The winners are among 78 teams from 14 countries competing for Nesta’s Longitude Prize, a global challenge with a £8 million payout. The challenge is to develop a point-of-care test to detect bacterial infections and ensure that the right antibiotics are used at the right time.
The grants follow a two-day accelerator programme conducted by BIRAC in collaboration with Nesta at the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT Bombay. The accelerator aimed to help teams become industry ready with guidance from business, technical, regulatory and clinical experts, and advice for overcoming hurdles in the development of their diagnostic tests.
Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India and Chairperson of BIRAC addressed the participants and announced the winners.
The teams awarded a Boost Grant are:
Addressing the participants, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary Department of Biotechnology and Chairperson, BIRAC said “It is a pleasure to see the innovative solutions created by Indian start-ups advancing to a stage which is near to the market. Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem and the Indian Government is committed to support a solution for the same. Partnership with Nesta and support for Longitude prize aspirants is one such effort in this direction. I congratulate the winners and wish them good luck in their journey to develop a solution for the global problem of antibiotic misuse.”
Daniel Berman, Lead, Global Health Team at Nesta, said “Indian innovators are strongly represented in the Longitude Prize challenge, with 21 of the 78 global competitors based in India. This strong participation is a result of BIRAC’s strong support to Indian med-tech start-ups. The winning teams have shown significant progress toward developing a point-of-care diagnostic test that will help people to know when they need to use antibiotics and which ones to use. The Longitude Prize competition is tightening, and the race is picking up speed.”
Launched in 2014, the Longitude Prize was originally designed as a five-year challenge and was last month extended from 2019 until at least December 2020. The competition remains open for new teams to apply here: https://longitudeprize.org/applying-support
Notes to Editors
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About The Longitude Prize: The Longitude Prize has been developed by the Challenge Prize Centre at Nesta, the innovation foundation, and has a £10 million prize fund, with a £8 million payout, to develop a rapid diagnostic to help tackle antimicrobial resistance. It was announced by the UK Prime Minister at the G8 Summit in 2013 and is being supported by Innovate UK as funding partner. The Prize commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act (1714) when the British government threw down the gauntlet to solve one of the great scientific challenges of that century: how to pinpoint a ship’s location at sea by knowing its longitude.
About Nesta: Nesta is a global innovation foundation. We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, making use of our knowledge, networks, funding and skills. We work in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. We are a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment. To find out more visit www.nesta.org.uk
Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833
About BIRAC: Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency to stimulate, foster and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian Biotech industry, particularly Startups and SME’s, for creation of affordable products addressing the unmet needs.