#Asia Pfizer teams up with IIT to hunt for India’s healthcare innovators


Photo Credit: epSos.de

Photo Credit: epSos.de

Pharma giant Pfizer has joined hands with IIT Delhi to scout for innovators in India’s healthcare sector. And here’s the bait: they could get up to US$75,000 in funding, in addition to incubation within the top engineering institute.

Individuals as well as startups can apply for The Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation and IP Program. All intellectual property rights on the innovations will be owned entirely by their creators, who will be free to commercialize their patents, a press release said.

“I invite innovators in India to take advantage of this program and bring their healthcare inventions to life,” said S. Sridhar, executive director, Pfizer India.

Healthcare hassles

Healthcare startups have huge potential in the second most populous country in the world. Lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes plus those like diarrhea and tuberculosis that thrive on a concoction of poverty and poor hygiene are some of the major health challenges in India.

Hundreds of thousands of people in remote areas still don’t have access to medical facilities, as hospitals, clinics, and doctors tend to be concentrated in the big cities. The cost of medical treatment in private hospitals is high. Small ideas can thus go a long way in saving lives.

The incubation accelerator initiative, co-created by Pfizer and the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) at IIT-Delhi, has two components.

For innovators seeking to translate their healthcare ideas into patents, it will provide two years of residential incubation at IIT Delhi and funding of up to INR 5 million (US$75,000) for each innovator.

They will also get mentoring support from IIT Delhi’s faculty, access to infrastructure and prototyping laboratories, IP search and filing services, guidance from Pfizer’s global experts, and access to venture capitalists and other industry networks.

For innovators who already have proof of concept and are seeking to obtain a patent, the program will provide access to IP attorneys and services and cover the patent fee.

Innovation in healthcare

The Pfizer-IIT-Delhi program is in line with the Indian government’s efforts to foster the innovation ecosystem in India.

India has seen similar initiatives in the past. The Stanford India Biodesign program, run by Stanford University, IIT- Delhi, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), encourages Indian doctors and engineers to think in terms of innovation.

Then there’s InnAccel, which calls itself a medical technology acceleration company focused on innovation for low and mid-income markets.

Healthcare startups like Practo, Quickwell, Docsuggest, Lybrate are also making their presence felt.

This post Pfizer teams up with IIT to hunt for India’s healthcare innovators appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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