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Pfizer To Back Oncology, Healthtech Startups In India

Pfizer To Back Oncology, Healthtech Startups In India

In the first year of the programme, three winning startups will be eligible to receive a grant of up to INR 65 Lakh each

Pfizer has joined hands with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, AGNIi, Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT-Delhi and Social Alpha

IIT Delhi is set to be the principal incubation partner in this programme

Global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, along with a few Indian establishments, has launched the Pfizer INDovation Program to support breakthrough healthcare innovations by startups in India, in the fields of oncology and digital health.

In the first year of its second version of the Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation and IP Program, three winning startups will be eligible to receive a grant of up to INR 65 Lakh each for product trials, pilot studies, and product market launches to accelerate the lab-to-market journey of their innovation. 

Pfizer has joined hands with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, AGNIi, Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT-Delhi and Social Alpha to launch this new Pfizer INDovation Program.

A nationwide call for applications in a grand challenge format will be announced to invite digital health and oncology startups working on the identified priority problem statements. And the eligible participants would include medical devices and diagnostics startups and companies with product stages of Technological Readiness Level (TRL) four or above. 

Besides, the startups or companies in AI, big data analysis, IoTs, software development and bioinformatics at TRL level five or above would also be eligible. 

In its first version of this collaboration programme, Pfizer had successfully incubated nine healthcare innovators and supported 19 IP filings.

“With the success of our earlier collaboration with IIT-Delhi, we are confident that we can scale up our Industry-Academia-Government partnership to support India’s brilliant young healthcare start-ups to become solution providers to the world and commercial success stories in the process,” said S. Sridhar, managing director of Pfizer Limited.

This programme is designed to address the challenges startups are face after crossing the early stage product development, added Sridhar.

Social Alpha and IIT Delhi together will provide support and guidance for 24 months to facilitate the journey of the startups to market launch, help in refining their business models, navigate the regulatory landscape and help with better understanding of national and global market dynamics.

IIT Delhi is set to be the principal incubation partner in this programme. 

However, customised incubation support would be provided across technology incubation centres such as the IITs, other major technology institutes and incubation network of Atal Innovation Mission across India, said a statement.

On the other hand, venture development firm Social Alpha will act as the implementation partner and will support startups to accelerate their lab-to-market journey. 

“Our association with Pfizer will allow us to sharpen our focus on Oncology and Digital Health innovations, two high priority areas with large impact potential,” said Manoj Kumar, founder and CEO, Social Alpha. 

According to Dr Chintan Vaishnav, managing director at Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, focusing on the high burden of diseases the country is experiencing is currently the need of the hour.

“I appeal to all the startups focusing on digital health and oncology to contribute towards the National Digital Health Mission and to help India come out of the cancer epidemic,” Vaishnav added.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, deputy director at the Center for Cancer Epidemiology stressed that more programmes like INDovation that focus on accelerating the adoption of disruptive technologies are needed to change the cancer care landscape.

The healthtech market in India is estimated to grow at a 27% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to $21.3 Bn by 2025 and enjoy a share of over 3% of the global market.