NBEC sees cutting-edge inventions

National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition sees cutting-edge inventions

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo.

Eleven startups and three students won the annual National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC) organized in Bengaluru for a series of cutting edge developments and research.

The 14 winners, working on innovations in eight areas: healthcare, Agri tech, water and sanitation, sustainability, maternal and child health, MedTech, personal care, and digital health won a collective Rs 7.2 cr in cash prizes and investment opportunities. NBEC is organized by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), under the ambit of the Department of Biotechnology.

Among the winners was Carditek Medical Devices which has developed a wearable, compact 12-lead ECG system with reusable sensors, and in-built High-frequency ECG for augmenting accuracy and early detection of cardiac disease. The inventor, Dr Sugandhi Gopal, received the Aurigene cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs.

Another winner was Niranjan Subbarao. His startup, Cyclops Medtech has developed an eye-tracking based early-stage diagnosis and therapy for neuro vestibular disorders like vertigo, migraine, epilepsy, concussion and ADHD. He won a Biocon cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs.

Meantime, the development of a microbe-derived, organic alternative to harmful and toxic metalloid UV blockers and nano-minerals in sunscreen, won Ravi Adgulwar of the startup, Avisa’s technology a L’Oreal cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs. Adgulwar’s invention comprises natural melanin from a fungal strain of Gliocephalotrichum simplex to replace artificial metallic and nano-mineral additives.

A device to monitor kidney function in real-time to prevent hospital-acquired kidney injuries and deaths in ICUs secured a cash prize of Rs 3.5 lakhs for Dilip Shankar, of the startup Accord Innovations. In addition, a rapid, label-free microbiome detection device which combines multispectral imaging and machine-learning to heal wounds in patients with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes won Rs 6 lakhs for its inventor, Geethanjali Radhakrishnan and her startup, Adiuvo Diagnostics.

Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw pointed out the wins reflected the seismic interest in bio innovations brought upon by Covid-19. “This year has seen a surge in biotech and MedTech companies due to the pandemic. Biotech has become the most sought-after sector by venture capitalists looking to invest,” she said.

Meantime, another inventor, Dr Prerana Tomke won Rs 3 lakhs for her development of a water purification solution to provide safe water through an eco-friendly-system based on nano-engineered material with metallic nano-particles in crystal form to remove microbes and heavy metals. Dr Subhash Narayanan of Sascan Meditech also won Rs 3 lakh for a clinically applicable MedTech device for early detection of cervical cancers and biopsy guidance.

Some startups did not win cash prizes but secured investment opportunities such as Godaam Innovations which aims to prevent the wild fluctuations of onion prices by converting traditional onion warehouses to smart warehouses that reduce post-harvest wastage and help farmers make informed decisions.

Srishti Batra of Qzense Labs was also selected for investment opportunities for helping to transform the fresh food supply chain with data analytics that helps detect food spoilage and optimizes shelf lives for better economics. Another entrepreneur, Sanjiv Sambandan won the Health Venture Digital Health Boot Camp participation award and also took home the surprise C-CAMP special prize as cutting-edge, emergent technology for his edible nano-electronic pills for Diagnostics of the Gastro-Intestinal Tract. His solution could be where endoscopy is headed in the future.

The winners in the student-team innovation category were Tanish T Sridhar, CMRIT, Bengaluru who won Rs 5 lakh for developing a modular sewage treatment plant for villages and apartments.

Chandan Kumar Jha, IIT Gandhinagar, won Rs 3 lakhs for developing an intelligent, virtual hand rehabilitation and assessment system for recovering stroke patients. Abduljabbar Khan, KLS Gogte Institute of Technology in Belagavi, Karnataka won Rs 2 lakhs for his development of a compact electromechanical device to curtail residual ridge resorption in cases of gum-related dental issues.

“Translation of exciting lab discoveries to industry-ready, commercialisable technologies will be key to advancing India’s current healthcare, agriculture and environment systems,” said Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, C-CAMP CEO and Director.

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