BIRAC – An Overview

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a non-profit public sector enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprise to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs. BIRAC is an industry-academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives, be it providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to the biotech firms and make them globally competitive. In its Five years of existence, BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms that help to bridge the existing gaps in the industry-academia Innovation research and facilitate novel, high quality affordable products development through cutting edge technologies. BIRAC has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to collaborate and deliver the salient features of its mandate.

The main objectives of BIRAC are:

  • Foster innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Promote affordable innovation in key social sector.
  • Empowerment of start-ups & small and medium enterprises
  • Contribute through partners for capability enhancement and diffusion of innovation
  • Enable commercialization of discovery
  • Ensure global competitiveness of Indian enterprises

BIRAC aims to fulfill its objectives through its various schemes and programmes for researchers, academia, entrepreneurs, start-ups, small industrial units, companies etc.

SCHEMES/GRANTS UNDER BIRAC

INCUBATION SUPPORT SCHEME

BIO-NEST Scheme

Bio-Incubators Nurturing Entrepreneurship for Scaling Technologies (Bio-Nest) scheme was launched by BIRAC to assist the biotech innovation startups in the country. Unlike start ups in the IT sector, enterprising ideas in the biotech sector need incubation support of a different kind where they need a landing space to test their ideas, run their operations, have access to high end instrumentations and locate in a place where they connect with other start ups and mentors. Bio-NEST program provides support to establish bio-incubators either as a standalone entity or as a part of the academia. This scheme allows harnessing of the entrepreneurial potential of startups by providing access to infrastructure as well as mentoring and networking platforms that the start-ups could use during their fledgling days.

BIO-NEST Schemes are of 4 categories as mentioned below:

(a) Supporting New BioNEST at Academic/Research Institutes/ Research Hospitals/ organizations fostering Innovation and entrepreneurship

Through its current BioNEST programme, BIRAC receives continuous interest from Universities/ Research Institutes/ Research Hospitals for starting Incubation activities to support Startups. The concerned interest in this category will be from entities which do not have a formal Incubation center but support Entrepreneurial activities and have some form of loosely woven or informal incubation activity. Such proposals will be assessed and screened based on existing guidelines for BioNEST that takes into account their merit and overall role in supporting innovation and techno entrepreneurship.

Grant Guidelines:

  • BioNEST could be hosted by an existing academic/research organization, Research Hospital which does not have a formal Incubation center but support Entrepreneurial activities.
  • The Host Institute (HI) should have adequate expertise and infrastructure to support incubation activity.
  • Incubators supported directly under BioNEST may be managed by host institutes or may be in PPP Mode.
  • The funding under this scheme shall always be in the form of grant-in-aid/ Capital Investment
  • The percentage and manner of funding under BioNEST can vary according to location; technology thrust area, infrastructure creation and the proposed operational model.
  • The duration of support for bio-incubation will be for 3 years, up to a maximum duration of 5 years depending upon the need and recommendation of the expert panel.
  • It is expected that a minimum of 5000 sq.ft. Space has to be dedicated for bioincubation, to facilitate incubation of startups

(b) Establishing new BioNEST with various State Government Biotech Councils or S & T Councils

Respective States are now having their own Biotech councils or S&T Councils spearheading Biotechnology in their respective states, through funding and other measures. Biotech Councils interested in creating BioNEST facility in their states can apply under this category.

Grant Guidelines

  • BioNEST under this category could be in existing institutions which may be Central/State Universities, Research & development Medical Institutes, and other organizations focused on bioincubation.
  • Funding support of 50% shall be provided by BIRAC for establishment of new incubators and 50% finance will be provided by the respective State Government Council.
  • The State Government will provide the requisite land and building space to host the BioNEST in any of the existing institute.
  • The funding will be in the form of grant-in-aid/ Capital Investment.
  • The percentage and manner of funding under the BioNEST can vary according to location; technology thrust area, infrastructure creation etc.
  • The duration of support for bio-incubation will be for 3 years, upto a maximum period of 5 years depending upon the need and recommendation of the expert panel
  • It is expected that a minimum of 8000 sq.ft. space have to be dedicated for bioincubation, to facilitate incubation of startups.

(c) Strengthening existing incubators attached to Academic institutes/research institutes, Stand alone incubators/Research Hospitals to establish BioNEST

Under this category existing incubators attached to Academic institutes/research institutes/ Stand alone incubators/ Research Hospitals can apply.

Grant Guidelines:

  • Applicant seeking BIRAC support should be operational at the time of application.
  • The incubator seeking support shall have proven track record in promotion of technology based entrepreneurship.
  • The funding will be in the form of grant-in-aid/ Capital investment.
  • The percentage and manner of funding under the BioNEST can vary according to location; technology thrust area, infrastructure creation etc.
  • The duration of support for bio-incubation will be for 3 years, upto a maximum period of 5 years depending upon the need and recommendation of the expert panel.
  • It is expected that a minimum of 5000 sq.ft. space have to be dedicated for bioincubation, to facilitate incubation of startups.

(d) Support for Scaling-up of already funded Bioincubators under BioNEST

Grant Guidelines:

  • Only BIRAC funded BioNEST will be considered for the upscaling
  • The bio-incubator should be fully functional in order to be considered for scale up by BIRAC.
  • The support for up scaling of the project will be considered for 3 years, to a maximum of 5 years

EARLY STAGE SUPPORT SCHEME

BIG (Bio-Technology Ignition Grant)

BIG is the flagship program of BIRAC, which provides the right admixture of fuel and support to young startups and entrepreneurial individuals. BIG is the largest early stage biotech funding program in India that supports high level innovation in the biotech sector and is not meant for basic research projects. This scheme is designed to stimulate commercialization of research discoveries by providing very early stage grants for the development and maturation of those discoveries into marketable product or intellectual property (IP). In other words to, it helps in bridging the gap between discovery and invention. The grant-in-aid is up-to Rs 50 lakhs for a maximum period of 18 months, to best in class innovative ideas to build and refine idea to proof-of-concept. The funding to the BIG Innovator by the BIG Partner will always be in the form of Grant-in-Aid. Funding may also be used for conducting limited market research, patenting costs, working capital during the period, travel, salary etc.

Call for proposal – BIRAC calls for proposal of this scheme twice in a year (i.e. 1st January and 1st June) and is open for 45 days.

Types of projects supported under this scheme:-

  • BIG scheme supports innovation under Healthcare, Life sciences, Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Drugs, Vaccines, Drug Formulations and delivery systems, Industrial Biotechnology, Agriculture, Waste Management, Sanitation and related areas.
  • Projects that propose a process/ product innovation with significant potential impact or commercial potential.
  • Projects focused on establishing or validating proof-of-concept for a technology idea.
  • Projects aimed at technology de-risking i.e., reducing uncertainties in the technology.
    Projects concentrated on producing and supplying the scientific data necessary to show a concept.

Who can apply for this grant?

Individual

  • Indian Citizen
  • Project Leader of the proposal
  • NOC required from the organization, in case of a student with an academic or research organization.
  • In case of being employed in a company, shall terminate such association.

Company/LLP

  • The Company/LLP shall be registered under the Companies Act 1956/2013.
  • The incorporation date of the Company/LLP should not be earlier than 5 years from the date of closing of a particular BIG call.
  • The company/LLP Shall be owned by resident Indian Citizen(s) i.e. a minimum of 51 % of the capital shall be beneficially held by Indian Citizens
  • The Company/LLP shall have a project leader for presenting the proposal.
  • The Company/LLP must have its own in-house R&D facility that is functional and adequate to execute the project.

Application Process

  • An individual or a company having an idea/concept that has scientific merit and commercialization potential, or address an unmet national need, can register on the BIRAC website and submit an online application form to avail this scheme.
  • BIRAC issues a national call inviting applications under BIG at least twice a year (1st of January & 1st of July).
  • The Call for Proposals is typically open for a period of up to one and a half month.
  • Applicants are advised to provide sufficient details in their applications to allow for an informed and fair evaluation/review.
  • There cannot be any change in the proposal once submitted.
  • The   Initial   screening   of   the   applications   will   be   done   by BIG   Partners
  • The shortlisted  participants  will  be  called  for  a  presentation  to  BIRAC  office.  Based on the proposal   and   presentation,   the   final   selection   will   be   made   by   the   BIRAC   apex committee.
  • The  applications  will  be  broadly  evaluated  for  the  technology,  execution  capability, potential impact of the technology, business plan etc.  

Funding Support

  • The funding support under BIG is in the form of grant-in-aid.
  • The extent of the fund is up to INR 50 Lakhs
  • The funds are allocated in a milestone basis.

1st Installment – Approval and signing of contract – up to 30%

2nd Installment – Completion of 1st milestone – up to 30%

3rd Installment – Completion of 1st milestone – up to 30%

Final Installment – completion of project – Remaining

Royalty on Grant

In case of a grant being confirmed to a particular Individual/Company, the royalty to BIRAC shall be done in the following manner:

  • BIG grantees are required to pay 5% royalty on net sales of the product/technology developed through BIRAC support
  • The royalty payment shall be until such time when the royalty payment becomes equivalent to the grant-in aid assistance provided by BIRAC for the Project or in case of termination of the project.
  • The payment of royalty shall fall due at the beginning of the first sale of the product/technology.
  • In case of sale or transfer of the product/technology to a 3rd party, BIRAC shall also be liable to be paid the profit of sale.

1. SITARE (Students Innovations for Advancement of Research Explorations)

Students Innovations for Translation & Advancement of Research Explorations (SITARE) Scheme is aimed at supporting innovative student projects in the area of biotechnology. The scheme’s mandate is to promote and encourage young students for embracing translational research to develop innovative products and technologies addressing unmet needs. The scheme also provides an opportunity for orientation, training and mentoring through residential workshops etc.

SITARE scheme has two components:

  • SITARE-Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award Grant

Under this scheme, 15 innovative student projects will receive funding support of up to INR 15 lakhs each. SITARE-GYTI encourages postgraduate and doctoral students to undertake projects with commercial potential leading to creation of biotech startups.

Eligibility: An Indian Student pursuing Ph.D/Masters in any discipline is eligible to apply for this award grant. The student should have a valid ID issued by the Institution/University. A No objection Certificate (NoC), as per prescribed format needs to be submitted along with application.

Call for Proposal: The proposal is called for once every year around August/September on the BIRAC Website, which is typically open for 45-60days.

  • SITARE-Appreciation Grant

Residential workshops called as Biotech Innovation Ignition School (BIIS) for undergraduate students are organized to provide hands-on-technical training and mentorship for problem identification in 3-4 weeks duration. he mandate of Biotech Innovation Ignition School (BIIS) is to provide an exposure and orientation for entrepreneurial journey through hands-on-technical training, interactive sessions with experts, access to bioincubation centre etc. This to promote grass root innovations and nurture ideas with societal impact, pioneered by undergraduate students, especially from Tier II/III cities. There are 30-40 students per workshop, out of which 10 students are selected and provided a grant support of up to INR 1 lakh each to encourage their inquisitiveness and sustained efforts.

Eligibility: Students pursuing Bachelors programme in any discipline, preferably from Tier II/Tier III cities and aspirational districts within India. The student should have a valid ID issued by the Institution/University.

2. E-YUVA (Encouraging Youth for Undertaking Innovative Research through Vibrant Acceleration)

E-Yuva scheme aims to promote a culture of applied research and need-oriented (societal or industry) entrepreneurial innovation among young students and researchers. The scheme is implemented through E-YUVA Centres (EYCs) to inculcate entrepreneurial culture through fellowship, pre-incubation and mentoring support. EYCs are housed within the University/Institute set up and mentored by a BIRAC Bio-NEST supported bio-incubator.

The scheme provides support for students under following two categories:

BIRAC’s Innovation Fellows – For post graduates and above.

Eligibility: An Indian Student who has completed Masters/PHD in any discipline. In case of a PHD Student, the student shall apply within 2 years of completion of degree and in case of Masters, the student shall apply within 3 years of completion. These conditions are, however, exempt to female candidates.

Number and duration: Each E-Yuva Centres can have not more than 3 Innovation Fellows at one time. The duration of this fellowship shall be for a period of 18 months and can be exteneded to another 6 months for deserving candidates.

Funding Grants:

Fellowship Grant for Post-Graduate candidates – INR 30,000

Fellowship Grant for Post-Doctoral candidates- INR 50,000

Annual research Grant for Post-Graduate candidates – INR 2,00,000

Annual research Grant for Post-Doctoral candidates- INR 5,00,000

BIRAC’s E-Yuva Fellows – For under graduate students

Eligibility: A team of 5 Indian Students from Indian Institutes/College pursuing under-graduation degree in any domain. Every team should apply from their institution’s E-cell.

Number and duration: Each E-Yuva Centres will support 5 teams (with 5 members each) at any given time. The duration of fellowship shall be for a period of 12 months.

Funding Grants: BIRAC’s E-Yuva Fellows will receive quarterly stipend and annual research grant as mentioned below:

Quarterly Stipend: INR 7,500 per quarter per student of the team

Annual research grant: INR 2,50,000 per team

LATE STAGE SUPPORT SCHEMES

1. BIPP (Biotechnology Industry Partnership Program)

BIPP is a government partnership with Industries for support on a cost sharing basis for path-breaking research in frontier futuristic technology areas having major economic potential and making the Indian industry globally competitive. It is focused on IP creation with ownership retained by Indian industry and wherever relevant, by collaborating scientists. This scheme is a support for high risk, accelerated technology development especially in futuristic technologies. Only accelerated technology development through transformational change are to be supported.

BIPP covers these following four broad categories:-

  • Category I – Areas with major social relevance but uncertain market driven demand
  • Category II – High risk, discovery innovation research with relevance for making India globally competitive.
  • Category III A- Evaluation & validation of already existing products of high national importance promoting local innovation (Clinical Trials).
  • Category III B – Evaluation & validation of already existing products of high national importance promoting local innovation (Agriculture Field Trials)
  • Category IV – Shared cost major facilities, critical for enabling innovation

Eligibility Criteria:

Who can apply?

  • Single or consortia of companies incorporated under the Companies Act,2013 or

LLP, incorporated under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008

  • Companies/LLP, with academic institution/national labs/NGOs.
  • Company hall have minimum 51% of the shares held by Indian Citizens
  • The Applicant Company/LLP shall have adequate in-house facility to address the project
  • Implementation

How to apply?

  • Proposals to be submitted online on the BIRAC Website during the proposal calls only.
  • There are 3 proposal calls every year i.e. 15th Feb to 31st March, 15th June to 31st July and 15th Oct to 30th Nov

Funding Grant

  • This scheme provides BIRAC contribution up to 50% of project cost as Grant- In-Aid and remaining cost is to be met through the company/LLP’s contribution.
  • The funding is made on a Milestone basis:

1st Installment – Signing of contract – 30%

2nd Installment – completion of 1st technical  milestone  – 20%

3rd Installment – completion of 2nd technical milestone – 20%

4th Installment – completion of 3rd technical milestone- 20%

5th Installment – Submission of project – 10%

Royalty on Grant

  • The Company/LLP shall pay royalty to BIRAC at the rate of 5 per cent on annual Net Sales of the product developed with BIRAC’s assistance.
  • Payment of royalty shall fall due beginning with the first sale of the product.
  • Liability to pay royalty shall terminate when the royalty paid equals to the amount of grant received or in case of termination of project.
  • In case of transfer or sale of the product, BIRAC shall recover the royalty amount or 5% of the income of such transfer or sale, whichever less

2. SBIRI (Small Business Innovation Research Initiative)

The Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI) scheme of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology was launched to boost Public-Private- Partnership (PPP) efforts in the country. It has facilitated innovation, risk taking by small and medium companies and bringing together the private industry, public institutions and the government under one roof to promote the research and innovation in the Indian Biotech Sector. The projects supported under the scheme have resulted in prominent outcomes in the form of some products which have already come to the market and some promising research leads seeing ray of hope for commercialization.

As a unique institutional mechanism, SBIRI has consistently prioritized early stage funding for high risk innovative research in small and medium companies led by innovators with science backgrounds to get them involved in development of products and processes which have high societal relevance.

Eligibility Criteria

Who can apply for this scheme?

The proposals can be submitted-

  • Solely by a Company incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013 or
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) incorporated under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 or
  • Joint Ventures either in the form of Company/ LLP by any of the above entities jointly with other private or public partner(s) (Universities or Institutes).

Eligibility Criteria for Industry

  • Minimum 51% of the shares of the Company should be held by Indian Citizens holding Indian passport
  • Minimum half of the persons who subscribed their names to the LLP document as its Partners should be Indian citizens.
  • Participating companies should have adequate in-house facility to address the project implementation aspects

How to apply?

  • Proposals are required to be submitted online only by logging on to the BIRAC Website.
  • Online proposal submission can be done by registered users during an active proposal call only.
  • There are 3 calls advertised each year i.e. 15th February to 31st March, 15th June to 31st July and 15th October to 30th November.

Funding Granted:

  • Up to Rs 50 lakh – 100% grant from BIRAC (primary applicant + collaborating company, if any)
  • More than 50 lakh – BIRAC grant would be Rs. 50 Lakhs + 50% of the Cost over and above Rs. 50 Lakhs. Remaining cost would be borne by the company)
  • The fund disbursement shall be on a milestone basis similarly to that of BIPP , as mentioned in the above mentioned scheme.

Royalty on Grant

  • The Company/LLP shall pay royalty to BIRAC at the rate of 5 per cent on annual Net Sales of the product developed with BIRAC’s assistance.
  • Royalty for each financial year shall be payable to BIRAC within 60 (sixty) days of close of corresponding financial year.
  • Liability to pay royalty shall terminate when the royalty paid equals to the amount of grant received or in case of termination of project.
  • In case of transfer or sale of the product, BIRAC shall recover the royalty amount or 5% of the income of such transfer or sale, whichever less

RESEARCH GRANT SCHEME

PACE (Promoting Academic Research Conversion to Enterprise)

BIRAC has launched PACE to encourage academia to develop technology/product (up to PoC stage) of societal/ national importance and its subsequent validation by an industrial partner. Biotechnological research and development in India is largely carried out by academic institutions (universities/research organizations) and to some extent by industry (mostly large companies). By virtue of their strong infrastructure & technical capability academic/ research establishments are mandated to research on variety of problems of national importance and societal relevance. Also, unlike industry, research by academia is not governed by commercial gains alone thus allowing them to work on problems involving even high degree of risk.

This Scheme has two components:-

  • Academic Innovation Research (AIR)  – The objective of Academic Innovation Research (AIR) scheme is to promote development of Proof-of-concept (PoC) for a process/product by academia with or without the involvement of industry. Projects that are supported under this are those with well-established proof-of-principle leading to development of prototype of a product /technology of national relevance or commercial potential. The duration of project shall be 18 months and the total cost of funding grant provided is up to Rs 50 lakhs.     

Eligibility: The primary applicant has to be an academia (Public or Private Institution, NGO or Research Foundation). It can apply either individually or jointly along with a academic or industrial partner.

  • Contract Research Scheme (CRS) – Contract Research Scheme (CRS) aims at validation of a process or prototype (developed by the academia) by the industrial partner. Projects that are supported under this are those which have an established Proof-of-Concept (PoC) as evident by scientific data ready for validation by the industry in contract research mode. There is no time limit as to the duration of the project and no limitation for the funding to be provided as well.

Eligibility: The primary applicant has to be an academia (Public or Private Institution, NGO or Research Foundation) with one or more partners out of which at least one has to be a company. The applicant Company should have adequate in-house facility to address the project implementation.

How to apply?

Proposals under both the above mentioned categories i.e. AIR or CRS are required to be submitted online only. For submission of proposals, Institutions need to register with BIRAC through “Institution User Registration”.

SOCIAL INNOVATION SCHEMES

1.SIIP (Social Innovation Immersion Program)

SIIP is BIRAC’s social Innovation fellowship/award program aimed at creating a pool of biotech “Social Innovators” who can identify needs & gaps within communities and then can help bridge the gaps either through an innovative product development or services. The immersion program is a unique social Innovation platform which provides the opportunity for clinical and rural immersion and also funding support for developing the prototype through mini kick start grant apart from the monthly fellowship to young social Innovators. The program has already developed clusters across the nation on three thematic areas “Maternal and Child Health” “Ageing and Health” and “Waste to value”.

Expected Outcome: BIRAC expects the Social innovators to reach a point where they either have a ready business plan to pitch to investors, or an advanced proposal with some preliminary results suitable for funding by BIG or equivalent funding source or a technology / patent suitable for licensing.

Intellectual Property: The IP generated during the SIIP programme would rest with the social innovators and neither BIRAC nor partners would claim the IP rights.

Call for Proposals: There is no specific time of proposal. Any social innovator can reach out to BIRAC on their website with a proposed plan.

2.SPARSH (Social Innovation programme for Products: Affordable & Relevant to Societal Health)

This programme aims at promoting the development of innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. The scheme tackles major social issues and offer new ideas for widespread change. The scheme aims to invest in ideas and innovations that improve health care of all Indians and encourage affordable product development in the social sector. The scheme intends to create a pool of social innovators in the biotech arena who will identify the specific needs and gaps in healthcare. The social innovators will be provided financial and technical support for developing market-based solutions that have potential to bring cost effective health care breakthroughs to vulnerable populations in particular.

Call for Proposals: There is no specific time of proposal. However, BIRAC announces for call for proposal on its website every 6 months or a year.

EQUITY FUNDING SCHEMES

1.SEED Fund (Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Fund)

The basic idea of SEED Fund is providing Capital assistance to startups with new and meritorious ideas, innovations and technologies. This would enable some of these start-ups to graduate to a level where they will be able to raise investments from angel/Venture capitalist or they will reach a position to seek loans from commercial banks /financial institutions. Thus the proposed seed support is positioned to act as a bridge between promoters’ investment and Venture/Angel investment. This is not an investment scheme, but, rather a support scheme to enable start-ups and incubator to attain sustainability.

Under this scheme, BIRAC will provide Grant-in-aid Assistance to selected BIRAC funded incubators based on certain establishment and operational criteria. Initially BIRAC shall identify up to five incubators and expand further in due course. Each such selected incubator will be granted up to Rs 200 Lakhs for implementation of SEED Fund. Each incubator can design a selection process to screen & select startups for equity and operational funding through SEED Fund (e.g Accelerator program or Direct investment). The provisions stated herein below deal with the essential guiding principles of the initiative.

Eligibility Criteria

A BIRAC Incubator SEED Fund Committee shall be set-up, who shall consider proposals of eligible incubators for granting SEED fund. The eligibility conditions are as follows:-

  • Incubator should have been supported through BIRAC’s Bio-NEST Scheme
  • Incubator should be operational since last three years, with at least 5 resident start-ups in Biotech/Life Science start up
  • Incubator should have established IP&TT facilitation services for startups
  • Incubator must have prior experience in management of early stage funding schemes or other grants.
  • Incubator should have investment in start-ups and/or entrepreneurship development experience

2.LEAP Fund (Launching Entrepreneurial Driven Affordable Products)

BIRAC LEAP Fund is meant to provide capital assistance to startups with new and meritorious ideas, innovations and technologies. The LEAP Fund is to provide funding support of up to Rs 1 crore per startup. BioNEST Bio-incubators (LEAP fund partners) will be given up to Rs 5 crore funds/ partner for investing in potential Startup against equity and equity linked instruments. This would enable potential start-ups to pilot/ commercialize their products/ technologies. Thus the proposed funding support is positioned to act as a catalyst in bringing technologies/ products forward towards piloting/ commercialization and reducing their gestation to commercialization.

BIRAC will provide Grant-in-aid Assistance to selected BIRAC funded incubators based on certain establishment and operational criteria. Each such selected incubator will be granted up to 500 Lakhs for implementation of LEAP Fund. Each incubator can design a selection process to screen & select startups for LEAP Fund support (e.g Accelerator program or Direct investment). The provisions stated herein below deal with the essential guiding principles of the initiative The BIRAC LEAP fund is only for Indian start ups with minimum 51% ownership by Indian citizens.

Eligibility Criteria

A BIRAC Incubator LEAP Fund Committee shall be set-up, who shall consider proposals of eligible incubators for granting LEAP fund. The eligibility conditions are as follows:-

  • Incubator should have been supported through BIRAC’s Bio-NEST programme.
  • Incubator should be BIRAC’s SEED fund partner.
  • Incubator should be Operational since last 05 years, with at least 5 resident startups in Biotech/med-tech/life science.
  • Incubator should have in-house capacity in incubating & mentoring early stage Biotech / Life Science start up.
  • Incubator should have established IP&TT facilitation services for startups.
  • Incubator must have prior experience of 04 years in management of early stage funding schemes or other grants
  • Incubator should have investment in start-ups and/or entrepreneurship development experience

3.ACE FUND (Accelerating Entrepreneurs Fund)

Biotechnology Innovation Fund – ACE (Accelerating Entrepreneurs) Fund is an equity “Fund of Fund” exclusively for Biotech Start-ups. AcE daughter funds are SEBI registered private funds to invest equity in start-ups for providing the risk capital to undertake innovation, research and product development. This fund shall foster R&D and innovation in Biotechnology domains (including areas such as healthcare, pharma, medical devices, agriculture, sanitation to name a few).The ACE Fund shall make a maximum capital commitment of up to Rs 30 crores or up to 30% of the total aggregate capital commitment amount in each ACE daughter Fund. The assistance to a start-up will be up to INR 7 crores against equity.

ACE Fund shall enable creation of an ecosystem for providing risk capital to young enterprises to undertake research and development in high priority technology areas. It will, in the process, enrich the intellectual property in the country and encourage more entrepreneurs to work towards product and technology development of high quality at affordable economies in sustainable manner. ACE Fund is being promoted by DBT through BIRAC, under the aegis of Make in India initiative.

Funding Guidelines

  • It is a “fund of funds” and will aim to partner with fund managers (“AcE Fund Partner”) and invest in SEBI-registered AIFs (“Daughter Funds”) managed by Fund Managers.
  • AcE Fund shall act as a catalyst to attract private investors, corporates and LPs to such Daughter Funds.
  • The AcE Fund shall make a maximum capital commitment of up to Rs 30 crores or up to 30% of the total aggregate capital commitment amount.
  • The assistance to a start-up will be up to INR 7 crores againest equity.
  • The AcE partner shall commit to invest at least twice the amount committed by the AcE Fund into start up in the biotech/Life Science sector over the term of daughter fund.
  • The selection of the Daughter Funds for support by AcE Fund shall be made through a detailed application and evaluation process.
  • The potential ACE fund applicant should be a SEBI-registered AIF at the time of application
  • It shall submit a detailed proposal including the Fund Manager’s track record and experience in fund management.
  • Preference shall be given to AcE Fund partner that have already received commitments or in principle approvals from other contributors in the Daughter Fund.

PRODUCT COMMERCIALIZATION SCHEME

PCP Fund (Product Commercialization Program Fund)

BIRAC is promoting product/technology development by Indian Start-ups in different areas of biotechnology through various funding schemes such as BIG, BIPP, SBIRI, PACE, IIPME, SPARSH, through various partnerships programmes like Grand Challenges India, National Biopharma Mission, WISH or as innovation awards like TiE Winer. BIRAC supported technologies are continuously monitored and measured for technology maturation on a BIRAC-TRL (Technology Readiness Level) scale of 1 to 9. The existing BIRAC schemes support product development, extensive validation up to pre-commercialization. Once the technology/product has been successfully validated and is market ready, there are additional financial requirements for preparing the ground for market launch, test-validation in targeted markets and large scale commercialization, which are not covered under the existing funding programmes. To deal with the situation, BIRAC has launched the Product Commercialization Program Fund (PCP Fund) under the BIRAC Product Commercialization Program (PCP).

The main objective of this fund is to hasten the market launching and large scale commercialization process of BIRAC supported products/ technologies from Start-ups having high commercial potential or societal impact by providing financial assistance by way of Grant-in-Aid assistance.

Eligibility

  • Products/Technologies developed by Indian start-ups with BIRAC support through its funding schemes
  • Products/Technologies developed by Indian start-ups with BIRAC support through its partnership schemes
  • Products/Technologies developed by Indian start-ups with BIRAC support through BIO-NEST incubation support
  • Products of high national relevance, recognized according by the steering committee, developed by start-ups with support from other sources of funding having
  • Such products shall have a TRL ≥7 in the BIRAC-TRL scale and should be ready for large scale commercialization in the next 6-18 months.

Duration: The maximum duration of support cannot be more than 24 months

Application Process:

  • All ongoing BIRAC funded projects are monitored for their TRL on regular basis. Irrespective of the funding program or thematic area, all those projects that have reached TRL 7 or above will be considered.
  • Start-ups may also be recommended for Product Commercialization Fund (if the product is at TRL 7 or above) by BIRAC Technical Expert Committee, BIRAC internal PCU, Partner/Bio-NEST Incubators or by any other relevant authorities.
  • Indian start-ups having nationally relevant product which is at TRL 7 or above will also be considered, even if the product is not developed with funding from BIRAC.
  • In all the above cases Start-ups will have to apply for BIRAC PCP fund through submission of online application format available on BIRAC website (Annexure-I) which is open throughout the year.

The schemes/grants that are available to companies (excluding start-ups) are briefly analyzed here.

Leave a Reply