India State Invests in 26 Biotech Startups

The state of Karnataka is investing heavily into biotech startups, hoping to create a supportive environment for breakthroughs in healthcare technology.

The Indian state Karnataka has been dedicated to the growth of technology startups since 2015, when the government launched a policy to encourage emerging innovators and to help small companies navigate regulatory requirements ranging from verifying proof of concept to sample manufacturing. In 2016, the government launched the Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS) initiative, which included a US$60 million fund to further assist new startups with initial process hurdles. Now, the government will provide an additional US$1.65 million in funding, distributed to 26 startups selected competitively. These companies will each receive US$77,000 in funding, and the government’s departments of IT and biotechnology will provide technical assistance in idea, product and technology development. Some of the chosen startups include: Yostra Labs Private Ltd., a healthcare tech firm that invented a handheld device that helps with the diagnosis of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN); Osteo3D, which developed a 3D printing platform to create patient-specific surgical models; and OmiX Labs, which developed a diagnostic tool for antimicrobial resistance in urinary tract infections (UTIs). The Karnataka government has shown no signs of slowing down investment: in March 2017 it established a separate US$1.4 million fund solely for women entrepreneurs, and its agriculture department has budgeted for a US$1.5 million fund for technology innovations in farming. —AA

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