Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been identified by WHO as one of the top ten global health threats claiming 700,000 lives per year globally with a projected fatality rate of 10 million per year by 2050. While India is one of the leading nations from the Global South in research towards AMR mitigation, deep science entrepreneurial efforts to deliver these emerging solutions from bench to bedside have shown a serious lacuna.
This unaddressed gap is now the focus of a new partnership between Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms or C-CAMP, a premier biotech research and innovation hub with a legacy of fostering globally recognized AMR technologies, and SBI Foundation. The project will establish a Centre of Excellence CoE in AMR innovation by providing a structured platform for support systems and frameworks to advance the development, translation and scale-up of indigenous deep science entrepreneurships in AMR domain.
Announcing the initiative, Prof Ajay Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt of India in New Delhi, said “AMR poses a grave challenge to public health systems across the world and is a WHO priority. Paradoxically, AMR is one of the least funded domains in biotechnology due to its skewed market economics. Funding and handholding support for this deep science sector by the C-CAMP-SBIF CoE will be tremendous boost for AMR innovation development.”
C-CAMP Director-CEO Dr Taslimarif Saiyed said, “We are excited to ring in our latest partnership with SBI Foundation. This is a crucial PPP collaboration through which we will address AMR by supporting ventures that develop and commercialize scientific breakthroughs innovations for on-field impact. As the latest ICMR study on AMR showed, last-resort antibiotics like carbapenems are beginning to fail in hospital-acquired infections in ICUs with signs of locally resistant strains emerging. This implies a dire need for indigenous solutions tailored for Indian conditions which this CoE will help identify and support.”
Shri Sanjay Prakash, Managing Director, SBI Foundation, said “SBI Foundation, under its flagship program, SBIF LEAP (Livelihood and Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program) has setup the Innovators for Bharat initiative to provide support to high-impact incubators providing incubation/acceleration support to start-ups working to address the most pressing development challenges in the country. Our partnership with one of the top incubators i.e. C-CAMP focuses on one such pressing issue for our country. We are confident that the SBIF C-CAMP CoE for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Innovation will be the cornerstone in identifying, funding and nurturing startups leading the AMR Innovations.”
The CoE will be under the aegis of the global India AMR Innovation hub or IAIH platform also anchored by C-CAMP & chaired by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser. Being under the IAIH umbrella, the CoE will leverage the network of global stakeholders already built by IAIH, thus amplifying the cumulative impact, economic sustainability and global competitiveness of the supported innovations.
The focus of the CoE will be on identifying and supporting through funding and other means, a 360 degree portfolio of cutting-edge deep-science solutions, across AMR and the larger One Health domain spanning Food and Agriculture, Environment and Healthcare. The project proposes the funding quantum as an efficient Revolving Fund between the 2 CoE partners which is structured to optimize grant utilization and available long-term corpus within the ecosystem for support to more deep-science start-ups at the pre-equity seed stage.
The CoE plans to kick off its operations by identifying and nurturing up to 12 innovations in the next 2 years. A nation-wide India AMR Grand Challenges call is to be announced soon.
Press links - https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/centre-of-excellence-in-a... [Hindu]