Dr. Pavan Varma co-founded Biotech start-ups in Varanasi and New Delhi. He has business experience in molecular diagnostics, genomics, contract research, and product development. He has conducted several Biotech workshops and training sessions for science graduates in Varanasi and also established several in-house panels for rare genetic disorders, cancers, and infectious agents along with design and development of low-cost DNA tools.
On a day of plunging temperature at Reykjavik airport in Iceland almost thirteen years ago, a few journalists, while briskly walking on the tarmac to embark on a special aircraft, were impatient to find out exact definition of Nanoparticles.
They were expecting this midair query from the scientist turned President APJ Kalam with whom they were flying on the state visit to a few nations including big bang experiment site at CERN laboratory on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.
Dr. Kalam, during onboard freewheeling interactions with accompanying media contingent used to ask several simple questions while giving an elaborative narrative of complex scientific issues in common man language. His narration on Nanoparticles usage in health care discipline was always a gripping one.
Coincidently, on a day of soaring temperature in the same month 13 years after, another Scientist Dr. Amit Kumar Dinda was batting coolly on the subject in a lecture hall of Jamia Millia Islamia Central University in the national capital and was giving an absorbing narrative on Nanoparticles. His chronicle was equally informative and exciting.
For me, it was an instant revival of flashback memories of Nanoparticles and developments in India and Dr. Kalam’s vision of Nanoparticles researches and its usage in various disciplines.
The mega dissertation on the Nano theme by Dr. Dinda from AIIMS, New Delhi was equally engrossing. He was speaking at the Third IC (InnovatioCuris) meeting which had a talk regarding Nanotechnology and its commercial impact.
The talk highlighted the significance of Nanotechnology as a future driver of innovations and useful economy. He further exemplified with his own contributions to the field including nanoparticulate ambisomes against Kala-azar, nano formulation based HBV vaccine for oral delivery, nanoformulations against leishmaniasis.
The focus of the IC club meeting was about Biotechnology future innovation, Funding scenario and Start-ups. It was for the first time that the IC club meeting was organized in a university to encourage participation of academia.
Dr. Dinda has equally cautioned the pitfalls in Nano research and product development, which was very elucidative and useful for the present members and students. His experience with Nanoscience made him realise the importance of collaborative approach, as it is a highly inter-disciplinary science.
Nanotechnology is very liberative and robust in the sense that it offers low cost, and viable and scalable technology, the sort of which is need of the hour in India. Also given the reason that it has been practised in India in Ayurveda, gives a point of leveraging for existing vedic processes. The impacted areas range from health, environment, water purification, therapeutics, organ regeneration, to such hi-fi technologies like nanotised robots for vivo monitoring.
Dr. Dinda, also stressed on the importance of quality human resource and specially a dedicated one. He has given several examples of his experience abroad during his residency, where he was member of several failure commitees, and stressed on the importance of reasoning a failure.
The other talk in the meeting was given by Dr. Pavan from Scangene Labs, a first generation entrepreneur in the biotechnology domain with focus on low cost diagnostics. He shared his experience of establishing his start-up and his companies plan A and plan B. His team was instrumental in developing several panels for diagnosis of cancer markers and rare genetic disorders. They developed low cost equipment and devices for use in reserach setups and educational institutes.
Dr. Pavan have showcased their research into development of a low cost TB resistance screening devise and claimed to make it a less than one dollar possibility. They stressed the importance of having a plan A and plan B for survival in the Biotech Start-up landscape. They concluded saying India needs more PADMAN’s in Biotechnology.
The general mood of the meeting was regarding the buzz in the policy shift towards biological sector by the Government of India. Several important observations were shared by the clubites in this regard, like the present call for grand challenges focussed towards synthetic biology, the present heads of scientific bodies being decorated by emineries from biology background, etc. The other significant dialogue in the meeting was regarding focus on low cost technology, and the importance of quality certification and /or recognition by regulatory bodies.
Informatively, with the commitment to giving an encouraging platform to innovators and aspiring startups, InnovatioCuris (IC) was created as a knowledge-based platform to exchange best practices of healthcare innovations across the globe by conducting international conferences, and extending the same message in internationally-acclaimed, quarterly magazine named “InnoHEALTH”, complimentary webinars and training.
The club brings innovators, investors, start-ups, technology persons, policymakers, health experts and legal advisers under one large umbrella to be members and hold hands by sharing success stories and challenges and to incubate their ideas to take the dream and vision of India forward. It has a very strong band of advisers to support the activity of club and mentor projects. The aim is to bring down healthcare delivery cost yet maintain quality through innovations. IC has an outreach of 30,000 people globally to share its activities.
Dr. Amit Kumar Dinda MD, PhD is a Professor of Department of Pathology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. After his post graduation in Pathology he did his PhD in the area of Cancer Biology at the same institute. His area of work includes Immunopathology, Inflammation and cell biology, Experimental pathology, Ultrastructural pathology, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine. In the area of Nanomedicine, he is actively involved in several projects related to nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery, antigen and DNA delivery system. Dr. Amit is working in the area of nano-cell biology to understand nanoparticle and cellular interaction. He is in the editorial committee of 12 national & international journals. He has worked as a Visiting Professor in Long Island Jews Medical Center & Elbert Einstein Medical College, New York, USA as well as University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Dr. Amit has published more than 200 research articles in indexed journals and edited 4 books. He has written 14 chapters in books and acquired 3 patents in the areas of nanotechnology and biopolymer.
The other interesting discussion was for the need of an ecosystem for development of tools and devices for Biotechnology.