04 July 2023 | Features | By Narayan Kulkarni
MMA Spectrum Foundation launched during BioSpectrum Excellence Awards 2023 on 30th June in New Delhi
Ravindra Boratkar, Managing Editor and Publisher, BioSpectrum India announced the launch of MMA (MM Activ) Spectrum Foundation to become a partner in the progress of the Bio & Health Sciences startups ecosystem. There are several other objectives of the foundation to promote startup culture and take them to the next level.
Welcoming the gathering of over 200 industry leaders for the BioSpectrum Excellence Awards 2023 held at the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi on June 30, Boratkar said “Very soon the foundation will commence its activities. It will work for the overall development of Bio & Health Sciences, Life Sciences and Food and Agriculture sectors and all sub-sectors under them. For this purpose, we will be setting up groups of experts to empower youngsters for launching and developing startups, and to guide and mentor young entrepreneurs.”
“India’s bioeconomy is poised to touch $300 billion by 2030 and with its rising innovation and scientific temper, it is poised to join the global wave of a New Industrial Revolution. India is emerging as the world’s major bioeconomy with fast growing biotech startups. The number of biotech startups has increased from 50 to 5,000 in the last 8 years. India has the potential to move from 5,000 to 50,000 within the biotech startup sector”, Ravindra Boratkar, Managing Director, MM Activ Sci-Tech Communications stated.
“There are many experts from the field. Soon, we will surely be seeking cooperation and guidance from industry experts to mentor entrepreneurs. I am confident that industry captains are glad and enthusiastic to guide the startups,” he added.
Talking about the awards ceremony he said “BioSpectrum honours personalities from the life sciences sector whose work has, indeed, been worthy of recognition. As an esteemed media platform of the life sciences field, BioSpectrum not only recognises but also appreciates their excellence in their respective work areas by conferring upon them BioSpectrum Excellence Awards. Last year we could not organise it due to COVID, hence this year we are giving awards for two years.”
In her address, Dr Renu Swarup, Former Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (Jury Chair) congratulated all the award winners for their performance and achievements, and complemented BioSpectrum for its efforts in bringing the hidden jewels into the limelight. “These efforts of BioSpectrum are going to help the young students of biotechnology to see these winners as role models. As the country is offering huge opportunities in the biosciences space, the young minds can grab these through their skill sets and talent to make a difference to society”, she said.
Congratulating BioSpectrum for launching MMA Spectrum Foundation she wished all success in its endeavour of providing the very best to the upcoming and young entrepreneurs in different fields of life sciences.
In his address as jury member, Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, C-CAMP said, “It was my pleasure to be on the Jury panel for the prestigious BioSpectrum Jury Awards. BioSpectrum Jury Awards go back a long way to 2003 when the biotech ecosystem in India was fledgling. Thanks to the vision and tireless dedication of some eminent colleagues from this ecosystem, a few of whom I am sharing the Jury panel with, that fledgling of 2003 has become one of the top three startup capitals in the world, in a journey of 20 years of striving, focus and quiet ambition. India as a global biotech powerhouse has arrived as we saw during the pandemic years. The pandemic years were not only of tremendous churn but also of phenomenal capacity- building which have strengthened India’s position as a global biotech hub and inspired the global market and investor confidence that we are now seeing for indigenous technologies from India.”
Along with Ravindra Boratkar, Dr Taslimarif Saiyed and Dr Milind Kokje, Chief Editor, BioSpectrum India, Dr Renu Swarup presented Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr K I Varaprasad Reddy, Founder, Shantha Biotechnics; Businessperson of the Year 2021-22 Award to Mahima Datla, MD, Biological E; Product of the Year 2021-22 Award to SSI Mantra Surgical Robotic System, received by Ishan Shinde, Vice President of Strategic Programmes, SS Innovations; Entrepreneur of the Year 2021-22 Award to Dr Anand Anandkumar, Co-Founder, Bugworks Research; Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2021-22 Award to Geethanjali Radhakrishnan, Founder, Adiuvo Diagnostics and Young Woman Scientist of the Year 2021-22 Award to Dr Pragya D Yadav, Scientist-F, National Institute of Virology.
Dr Renu Swarup also presented the Businessperson of the Year 2020-21 Award to Sai Prasad, Executive Director, Bharat Biotech who received on behalf of Dr Krishna Ella, Executive Chairman, Bharat Biotech; Product of the Year 2020-21 Award to Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine, received by Sai Prasad, Executive Director, Bharat Biotech; Entrepreneur of the Year 2020-21 Award to Hasmukh Rawal, MD, Mylab Discovery Solutions; Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2020-21 Award to Dr Rachana Tripathi, Co-Founder, Huwel Lifesciences and Young Woman Scientist of the Year 2020-21 Award to Dr Ritu Trivedi, Principal Scientist, Central Drug Research Institute.
In his address Dr K I Varaprasad Reddy, Non-Executive Chairman, Shantha Biotechnics recalled his tough and solo journey of developing recombinant DNA vaccines with a motto of offering them at an affordable price three decades ago.
He said, “Shantha is the first company in the biopharma sector to ignite the growth of biotechnology based vaccines and therapeutic products. It is the only company that believed in- Make it Available locally, and Make it Affordable to the common man. But adding these many ‘firsts’ was a part of a very tough journey. And it all started with anger and disappointment that eventually took the shape of obsession.”
Sharing the hard days of venturing into complex biotechnology industry space, Dr Varaprasad Reddy said, “With no role model to follow, to develop a recombinant DNA technology for vaccine, I visited Dr Anji Reddy and few other industry leaders, but all of them told me that this task was an impossible one and I was wasting my time.”
Dr Varaprasad Reddy, who overcame the unethical and bad experiences, had set the prices for vaccines in India for 11 years since the launch of Shantha Biotechnics. He said “We have great doctors, great engineers in our country but not great leaders. The vaccine scenario has changed considerably in India. Currently, we are strong in production but we should collaborate with other countries for joint development and own the patent rights, to become global leaders.”
Besides Jury awards, Industry Ranking Awards and Special Recognition Awards were also presented to the winners after a panel discussion.
Dr Milind Kokje, Chief Editor, BioSpectrum India thanked the gathering for making the celebrations memorable, while Dr Manbeena Chawla, Executive Editor, BioSpectrum India conducted the entire ceremony of BioSpectrum Excellence Awards 2023 with poise and perfection.
Photo caption - Dr K I Varaprasad Reddy, Non-Executive Chairman, Shantha Biotechnics, Lifetime Achievement Award winner lighting the lamp to inaugurate the BioSpectrum Excellence Awards 2023 ceremony in presence of (L-R) Dr Milind Kokje, Chief Editor, BioSpectrum India, Ravindra Boratkar, Managing Editor and Publisher, BioSpectrum India, Dr Renu Swarup, Former Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (Jury Chair) and Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, C-CAMP (Jury Member)