Context:

Covid-19 vaccine development and Pandemic Response

The National Biopharma Mission (NBM) is an industry-Academia Collaborative Mission for accelerating biopharmaceutical development in the country.

  • The mission will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
  • The mission was approved in 2017 at a total cost of Rs 1500 crore and is 50% co-funded by World Bank
  • The program is promoting entrepreneurship by supporting small and medium enterprises for indigenous product development (Novel Cell lines, indigenously developed Biologics, devices and Raw materials for Biologics manufacturing) and through establishment of shared facilities and Technology Transfer Offices.
  • It is managed through a dedicated Program Management Unit (PMU) at BIRAC.
  • The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) provides approval and reviews scientific progress of its components.
  • Further downstream, domain specific Scientific Advisory Groups (SAG), each for the activities/ product development partnerships, are responsible for providing scientific decision making and knowledge and oversight necessary for TAG.
  • Under this Mission the Government has launched Innovate in India (i3) programme to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector.

Target Groups

The Program would aid

  1. Academic researchers – through enhancing their  translation  capability
  2. Empower bio-entrepreneurs  and SMEs -by decreased  cost  and  risk  during  early stages  of product  development and
  3. Biopharma Industry-by elevating  their  innovation quotient

Main Objectives and Aims

This scientifically driven enterprise aims at developing an ecosystem for affordable product development and is focused on the following 4 verticals:

1.Development of product leads for Vaccines, Biosimilar and Medical Devices that are relevant to the public health need by focusing on managed partnerships.

  • Presently the mission is supporting the development of candidate vaccines for Cholera, Influenza, Dengue, Chikungunya and Pneumococcal disease; and now Covid-19
  • Biosimilar products for Diabetes, Psoriasis, emergency situations & Oncology
  • Medical Tech Devices for Imaging, Pumps for dialysis, MRI and Molecular Biology devices.
A biosimilar is a biologic medical product (also known as biologic) highly similar to another already approved biological medicine (the ‘reference medicine’).

2.Upgradation of shared infrastructure facilities

  • Establishing them as centres of product discovery/discovery validations and manufacturing.
  • Support is being extended by the Mission for establishing shared facilities.
  • 15 facilities have been funded for – Biopharmaceuticals development (7), MedTech device development (6) and Vaccine Development (2).

3.Develop human capital

  • by providing specific trainings to address the critical skills gap among the nascent biotech companies across the product development value chain
  • In areas such as Product development, intellectual property registration, technology transfer and regulatory standards.

4.Creating and   enhancing   technology   transfer   and   intellectual   property   management capacities and capabilities –Technology Transfer Offices:

  • To help enhance industry academia inter-linkages and provide increased opportunities for academia,
  • Help Innovators and entrepreneurs to translate knowledge into products and technologies,
  • 5 Technology Transfer Offices are being considered for funding under NBM.
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