Interdisciplinary Innovation Center (IIC): An Outline of RGCB’s proposed expansion
Over the past several years RGCB has set a high standard of research and development in selected areas of Medical and Plant Biotechnology. The institute has made impressive advances in areas of disease biology and its track record in creating trained competent manpower in biotechnology through its innovative PhD program has been well appreciated. To take these basic advances forward and to create an environment where knowledge generated through fundamental research in disease biology and molecular medicine gets translated to innovative new tools and products, RGCB seeks to create a specialized ecosystem called Interdisciplinary Innovation Center (IIC). This will be a unique knowledge centre and hub for mid and high level innovation founded on deep and advanced level technical platforms, multidisciplinary cores that will seed growth and innovation.
The key goals of IIC shall include:
Evolve itself into a hub for bioengineering, cancer vaccines & immunology, molecular diagnostics (for cancer and infectious diseases) and nano-biotechnology for sustaining and improving the country’s health care system.
Offer to investors, entrepreneurs, biotech and bio-pharma companies a state- of- the-art research facility incorporating a unique “test and prove platform” which will provide all pre-clinical, analytical, toxicological and biological assays to validate a biotech or biological products besides offering shared facilities and Start-up technological and business development Incubators
Impart international quality biotechnology education and training.
Contribute to the development of Biotechnology in the country.
VISION STATEMENT FOR THE IIC
To emerge as a "Centre of Excellence" for creating innovative discovery platforms in disease biology and molecular medicine; solutions through traditional medicinal knowledge and creating world-class Human Resources inspired by the philosophy of ‘Bench-to-bedside’ and ‘lab-to-land’.
MISSION STATEMENT FOR THE IIC
Assemble the required human and physical capital within a goal-driven research environment to create an enabling environment for mid and high level innovation for translational science to foster eventual technology and product development in disease biology and molecular medicine including molecular diagnostics, cancer vaccines & immunology, nano-biotechnology and emerging viral diseases
IIC’s Focus Areas for Discovery Research:
IIC will have two broad areas of focus:
- Translational R & D on Cancer Vaccines & Immunology and Emerging Viral Diseases. Both these will also have common interfaces of molecular diagnostics, nanosciences and delivery systems for better creation of better & accurate molecular diagnostics and drug delivery systems.
- Help promote commercially viable biotechnology enterprises with the aid of Incubation centres and technology transfers as well as the unique Test and Prove facility of RGCB.
Commercialising R & D outputs
RGCB.’s Biotech Test and Prove Platform will provide the leadership in helping Start-up entities and other small and medium companies that join the IIC program with a view to planning to convert R & D outputs into marketable products and services. The range of assistance to be provided shall include:
- Physical facilities such as technology development and transfer Incubators.
- R & D support.
- Assistance in filing patent applications
- Assistance in obtaining Venture Capital and other financial participation.
- Advisory for technology transfer and licensing process issues.
RGCB’s Biotech Test and Prove Platform will be a major resource for the development of Biotech products and processes, especially for individual researchers and small and medium entities. This advanced facility accredited to national and international agencies for testing as per global standards and for pre-clinical evaluation of biotech
products for human use will facilitate bench-to-bedside transfer of newly discovered or indigenously developed biotech products and or processes.
This Platform will address such issues as:
- Characterization of purity and stability of new biotech products
- Quality testing of products (bioassays, chemical assays, immunological assays and molecular biological assays).
- Pharmacological testing including pharmacokinetic studies.
- Safety assessment of biotech products including testing for absence of undesirable or contaminating micro organisms and sterility testing
- Toxicity testing in small animals such as mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs.
- Modular production or manufacturing with GMP systems
- Bioinformatic support, patent search as well as patent filing
Strengths of RGCB to Take on the Proposed Initiative.
RGCB has, since its inception been conducting focused research in critical areas of health biotechnology, Disease Biology and Molecular Medicine. These include critical programs in Cancer Research and Infectious Diseases (including tuberculosis, emerging viral infections- chikungunya, dengue and influenza).
For cancer research, RGCB has a major interdisciplinary Programme of Excellence in Translational Research (PETR) in collaboration with the Regional Cancer Centre, which allows RGCB to carry out leading translational and clinical cancer research.
With its strong associations with leading hospitals in the city (including the Regional Cancer Centre, the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology and the Medical College Hospital), the proposed project will make available patient databases and pharmacogenetic analyzes for pharmaceutical companies and provide related benefits for Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and other potential clients.
RGCB will have close associations with the Indian Institute for Science, Education and Research (IISER), as initiative under the Ministry of HRD, Government of India, the proposed Institute of Molecular Materials of the Department of Science & Technology and ISRO’s Institute for Space Engineering. These will provide a fertile ground for translation of interdisciplinary science applied to biotechnology, particularly in the area of nanao and bio-engineering.
RGCB already has agreements for two technology development Incubators. The first one with the Public Sector HLL Life Care Limited is for development of diagnostic kits for infectious diseases. This initiative will most likely be elevated to a major joint investment in the manufacture of vaccines and other biologicals.
RGCB also has two service facilities - a Regional Facility for Genetic Fingerprinting, which provides DNA analysis services for forensic & criminal investigations, paternity disputes, identification of wildlife remains, authentication of plants and seeds and a Regional Facility for Molecular Diagnostics which provides a battery of molecular diagnostics for genetic and infectious diseases. RGCB is also a major provider of laboratory and infrastructure services to other academic and research institutions.
Estimated yield from the Project and its economic implications
RGCB is a research institution established to study, understand applications of biotechnology to disease – human, animal and plant. The present project of setting up an Interdisciplinary Innovation Center would eventually help to develop better diagnostic and prophylactic methods and modalities for treatment of cancer, infectious diseases as well as provide spice farmers better options for disease resistant crops. In addition this project will allow a platform for seamless interaction between biotechnology industries and an academic institution, which will result in accelerated product and process development.