It was born out of a national shortcoming. One where taking new ideas to market, when the innovator did not want to become an entrepreneur, was papered over forever. This was early-to-mid 2000s. Life sciences innovation in India was contracting into a bolus of agony even as the rest of the world was forging ahead with breakthroughs in food, fuel, drugs and devices. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), set up to work with the industry, had turned into a grant-giving body, like many government agencies. A handful of academics, technocrats and policymakers crisscrossed the country in wide-ranging consultations to arrive at what would become Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (Birac).

AUTHOR

Seema Singh

Seema has over two decades of experience in journalism. Before starting The Ken, Seema wrote “Myth Breaker: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and the Story of Indian Biotech”, published by HarperCollins in May 2016. Prior to that, she was a senior editor and bureau chief for Bangalore with Forbes India, and before that she wrote for Mint. Seema has written for numerous international publications like IEEE-Spectrum, New Scientist, Cell and Newsweek. Seema is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MacArthur Foundation Research Grantee.

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