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IISc at the forefront of helping scientists turn innovations into viable businesses

Sudhir Chowdhary
pathshodh, iisc, indian institute of science, education

Taking a cue from the hugely successful industry-academia collaboration that exists in the West, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore is in an overdrive to help the industry benefit from the research talent and output available in its campus. The Society for Innovation and Development (SID), a wing of IISc, has been helping startups, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and large corporates create innovative products and solutions with considerable success.

For evidence, take a look at SlowdWinPathShodh Healthcare, a medical device research and development company incubated at IISc. With the mission to make healthcare diagnosis affordable and available to all, the company is built on a strong foundation of innovative research conducted at the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering, IISc. Our motto is to translate the knowledge generated from deep science and cutting-edge technology into revolutionary products, says CS Murali, chairman, Entrepreneurship Cell, STEM, SID, IISc.

PathShodh s first set of products will leverage bio-sensing technology for point-of-care devices aimed at providing ease-of-diagnosis and better management of chronic diseases. PathShodh has introduced first-of-its-kind handheld device with the capability to measure multiple biomarkers specifically targeting diabetes and its complications, kidney disease, anemia and liver-related ailments. The company intends to deliver its innovative diagnostic technologies and products to medical professionals, medical institutions and channel partners worldwide, Murali informs.

Another example is Mimyk, a startup in the medical simulation and visualisation space, incubated at SID, IISc. Mimyk was founded by IISc alumni Shanthanu, Nithin Shivashankar, Raghu Menon and G Balaji. It is funded by government grants from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and government of Karnataka.

SID s STEM Cell incubates startups that have Deep Science at the core. These are usually IP-driven startups that commercialise science and technology. Deep Science startups require a longer gestation period to build products, require a large amount of seed capital and space as well as precision manufacturing, explains Murali. SID enables startups to access knowledge and laboratory resources at IISc. This also enables startups to get government grants.

STEM has so far incubated 33 startups. SID recently laid the foundation for a 12,000-sqm research park and from next year expects to induct 10 new startups every year. Large companies look for startups to create new product offerings. Both parties benefit from this partnership as startups get access to the mentoring, partner network, market feedback and other resources of the enterprise. In many cases, enterprises also provide funding, either directly or through their investment arms, he informs.

Since Deep Science and technology startups need a large amount of capital for prototyping, product testing and precision manufacturing, their seed capital needs are significantly higher than pure software or services startups. Seed and early funding, therefore, continues to remain a challenge for such startups, Murali sumarises on a realistic note.