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DST seeks proposals from pharma & medtech industries to commercialise indigenously developed technologies

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Tuesday, November 8, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In a bid to make the country self-reliant in research and development of novel drugs, biosimilars, vaccines, APIs and medical equipment, the department of science and technology (DST) has called on companies to submit proposals for commercialization of innovative indigenous technologies in pharmaceutical and medical device sectors.

The Technology Development Board (TDB) under the DST has invited applications from pharmaceutical and medtech industries under a slew of thrust areas which include novel drugs, biosimilars, vaccines, APIs; technological innovation in process and/or efficient manufacturing practices of pharmaceutical with special emphasis on green technologies and technological platforms not available in India; Import Substitution: Domestic manufacturing of critical key starting materials (KSMs), drug intermediates (DIs), active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) etc that are heavily imported; and innovative medical devices.

Under green technologies, emphasis is on at least 50 per cent reduction in solvent consumption and zero discharge processes (including gases and solids), etc.
Under process innovation, continuous manufacturing, integrated processes, solvent free synthesis, use of membrane technologies for separation, complete backward integration, etc. will be given priority.
Preference will be given to technological platforms to cover manufacturing based on electrochemical routes, photochemical routes, enzymatic reactions, continuous crystallization, in-line sensing of polymorphs, in-situ generation and consumption of toxic intermediates etc as there platforms are not available in the country.
Indian companies (as per Companies Act,1956/2013) and start-ups with recognition certificates from Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) can submit proposals to TDB for commercialization of innovative indigenous technologies in 'pharmaceuticals and medical devices’. Last date for submission of application is December 17, 2022.
Proposals will be evaluated by TDB on the basis of scientific, technological, financial and commercial merit. The eligible proposals will get financial assistance from the government for technology commercialization. Funding will be provided to pharma and medtech companies in the form of loan, equity and/or grants.
“Our objectives related to healthcare cannot be achieved without self-reliance in research, medicines and medical equipment related to biotechnology. The government is keen to support pharma and medtech companies in commercialization of innovative technologies which will in turn make the country self-reliant in medicines and medical devices,” said a senior official.
The country's health security is at risk due to its significant dependency on imported medical devices. It imports 85 per cent of its medical device requirement.  According to a government report, India imports about 68 per cent of its APIs from China as it's a cheaper option than manufacturing them.
However, the government has come out with a production linked incentive scheme for pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as part of which Rs. 6,940 crore has been allocated for PLI for KSMs, DIs and APIs while Rs. 3,420 crore for medical devices. Besides this, the government also introduced a 15,000-crore production-linked incentive scheme to support growth of high value products in pharmaceuticals.


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