Pfizer Collaborates with NIPER-A for Healthcare Startup Incubation

Pfizer partners with NIPER-Ahmedabad to invest Rs 25 lakh in 6 healthcare startups. Backed by the Dept of Pharmaceuticals and Niti Aayog, the collaboration accelerates healthcare innovation, focusing on startups with TRL 3 or higher. Read on.

Team TICE and Swati Dayal
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Multinational pharma company Pfizer has partnered with the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPER), Ahmedabad. Under the partnership, Pfizer will incubate six healthcare startups under the INDovation program, marking a substantial investment of Rs 25 lakh for each startup.

The INDovation initiative is not only backed by Pfizer and NIPER but also enjoys support from the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Niti Aayog.

Arunish Chawla, Secretary of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, emphasized the shared responsibility in encouraging indigenous healthcare innovation. He said, "Our support to this collaboration between Pfizer and NIPER-A highlights the potential of startups bringing innovations that can advance the delivery of healthcare in the country."

Cohort-based Approach and Accelerator Program

Pfizer outlined its approach, indicating that the partnership would follow a cohort-based model. Six startups from across India will be selected and incubated at NIPER, following a one-year accelerator program. Startups with a proven concept matching the set mandate will be given the opportunity to thrive.

How Will Pfizer Support The Startups?

Apart from the substantial Rs 25 lakh investment, the startups will receive comprehensive incubation support. This support encompasses various facets such as product development, regulatory pathway navigation, pre-clinical testing, tech transfer assistance through the NIPER ecosystem, and a real-world clinical fitment check.

Technological Innovation Criteria

Pfizer, in collaboration with NIPER Ahmedabad and Social Alpha, is actively seeking innovations with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3 or higher. The focus areas include deep tech and artificial intelligence for predictive analysis, point-of-care testing, software-as-a-service, informatics and wearables, as well as track and trace solutions.

TRLs serve as a crucial method for estimating the maturity of technologies, ensuring consistent discussions of technical maturity across diverse technological domains.

Expanding the INDovation Program with NIPER-A

NIPER Ahmedabad, in addition to being the incubation hub, is in the process of establishing a Center of Excellence in Medical Devices. Shailendra Saraf, Director of NIPER-Ahmedabad, expressed optimism about the collaboration, stating that partnership with a leading pharmaceutical organization like Pfizer would provide a significant boost for the innovative startups and their ideas.

This collaboration expands on Pfizer's existing INDovation program, where the company has supported the funding and development of 34 startups. The INDovation platform, launched in 2022, is a result of collaboration with various entities including Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, Social Alpha, Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT-Delhi, AGNIi, and the UN Health Innovation Exchange (UNHIEX).

Meenakshi Nevatia, Managing Director of Pfizer Ltd., expressed pride in the INDovation platform, stating, "Through the Pfizer INDovation platform, we are proud to have given wings to startups that are addressing important unmet needs in areas of oncology, digital health, devices, and diagnostics."

This collaborative effort between Pfizer and NIPER-A sets a promising precedent for the Indian healthcare startup ecosystem, bringing together the strengths of a multinational pharmaceutical giant and a renowned educational institution to drive innovation in the healthcare sector.

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