CCMB’s Atal Incubation Centre gets ₹5.25 cr. seed support grant

Scheme aims to ensure timely availability of seed fund to deserving start-ups

The Atal Incubation Centre – Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (AIC-CCMB) has been awarded the ‘NIDHI-Seed Support System’ (NIDHI-SSS) grant of ₹5.25 crore by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) of Department of Science and Technology (DST) on Thursday.

The scheme aims to ensure timely availability of seed fund to deserving start-ups which can get up to ₹25 lakh and in exceptional cases, can be awarded ₹1 crore as seed support in the early stages of their journey for market access and scale-up.

“This grant will support efforts of start-ups and ensure their leads reach the market as life sciences is a very capital intensive field where the development time is longer than any other sector. Time and money required for various validation and regulatory clearances for bringing a product to the market puts a huge pressure on the entrepreneur. We have seen many life sciences start-ups struggling to raise funds just to stay afloat,” pointed out chief executive officer Dr. N. Madhusudana Rao.

A selection committee would assess start-ups projects for their relevance, marketability and deep science before they are deemed eligible for seed support. “We hope this grant will also promote interest among the ecosystem to take leads generated by CCMB scientists for translation,” he said.

AIC-CCMB has successfully supported over 40 life science start-ups in the last three years, all working in the areas of human and animal health as well as industrial biotechnology. Some of these had played a pivotal role in developing COVID-19 solutions for diagnostic, therapeutics and food supplements, explained Dr. Rao.

CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra said, “Having ‘set structures’ for funding deep tech start-ups in life sciences is important since the requirements are very different from those in IT. It is a welcome step that NSTEDB sees the importance and has launched NIDHI-SSS. We are very hopeful this will motivate many companies to work with us and help bridge the much lacking communication gap between academic researchers and industries.”

DST through NIDHI seed support initiative is attempting to provide hassle free financial support considering funding has been a stumbling block for start-ups in the beginning. “Incubators like AIC-CCMB are empowered with our fund to further harness the true potential of science, technology and innovation driven by new age innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups,” said Head NSTEDB, DST, Dr. Anita Gupta.

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