Pfizer, IIT-Delhi join hands for healthcare innovations

  • Rozelle Laha, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Nov 30, 2015 18:00 IST
A file photo of Indian Institute of Technology campus in Delhi. (Arvind Yadav/HT photo)

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-Delhi) have come together to launch an initiative to support individuals and start-ups for creating healthcare innovations in the country.

The initiative - The Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation and IP Programme - will be open to Indian nationals, individuals and start-ups and innovators, who will be provided an unencumbered grant of up to Rs. 50 lakh and also be allowed residency for two years at the premier engineering institute.

“Innovators and entrepreneurs who have ideas in healthcare should participate. The programme will support individuals and startups right through the journey from idea to IP. Innovators who have successfully obtained patents will also be linked to venture capitalists and investors to help commercialise their patents,” S Sridhar, Pfizer India’s executive director, said at the launch of the programme in Delhi recently.

Qualified individual/s or start-ups in the healthcare domain with new and innovative ideas who need support for proof of concept/development work to be carried out in a technology business incubator can apply. Individual innovators who need guidance and funding support to protect their intellectual property in the broad area of healthcare can also take advantage of the programme.

IIT-Delhi’s Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) will provide the selected people with requisite IP counselling services and training, access to the institute’s faculty, experts and facilities, opportunity to participate in all innovation-led conferences, workshops and events hosted at the campus and visibility on all related communication material published by FITT and IIT-Delhi.

“The selection which would be done through an expert committee with members drawn from academia and industry, shall entail criteria of novelty, degree of innovation, feasibility, unmet need, team etc,” Dr Anil Wali, FITT’s managing director, said.

FITT will implement all stages of the programme – from inviting proposals to reviewing, short-listing and awarding of appropriate grants. The selection committee formed by FITT will include representation from Pfizer India.

“Pfizer will support this programme both through its grant to IIT Delhi to fund the entrepreneurs and by mentoring support from the company’s experts. Pfizer’s funding to this programme is unencumbered. This means that all patents generated through this programme will belong entirely to the innovators. We believe that this provides innovators with the freedom to not just invent but also commercialise their inventions as they see fit,” Sridhar said.

“We believe that the IITs across the country are truly the epicentres for innovation and entrepreneurship,” he added.

“We see great synergies in this association with IIT- Delhi. This is the first such academic partnership that Pfizer in India is embarking on and going ahead we will explore similar collaborations with other academic institutions.”

The grants under this programme shall be released directly to the selected entities in tranches based on agreed project milestones.

“Through ‘The Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation and IP programme’, we wish to see increased interest in the creation and protection of IP towards which we aim to provide requisite guidance and support. We also desire to see enhanced techno-entrepreneurial temper in the healthcare domain as there are numerous challenges to be met, particularly, in the Indian context. Through this programme, we hope to identify and support the growth of great healthcare start-ups in our ecosystem,” Wali said.

Two rounds of proposals will be invited during 2015-16 and call for proposals for the first round opened on November 27 and will be accessible until January 15, 2016.

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