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India and World Bank sign agreement to invest in biopharmaceutical technology

India and World Bank sign agreement to invest in biopharmaceutical technology

The Government
of India and the World Bank recently
signed
a US$125-million agreement to support India in developing an
innovative biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry, which aims to be globally
competitive and addresses the country’s major concerns around barriers to
affordable healthcare.

The
US$125 million loan from the International
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
, has a 5-year grace period,
and a maturity of 19 years.

The
agreement was signed by Mr Sameer
Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry
of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Mr Mohd. Aslam, Managing Director,
Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC); and Mr Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director,
World Bank India.

The Innovate
in India for Inclusiveness Project (I3)
 will support Government of
India’s Biotechnology Industry Research
Assistance Program
(BIRAC). Launched in 2013, BIRAC was set up by the
Indian Department of Biotechnology
(DBT) to support innovative start-ups and collaborations through strategic
partnerships.

 “India is in a position to deliver safe,
effective and low-cost vaccines to tackle the host of diseases that plague
billions around the world. The proposed project is designed to leverage India’s
potential and capability to achieve this global goal,” said Mr
Hisham Abdo, Acting Country
Director, World Bank India. 

The I3 Project will nurture
next generation technical skills, provide companies with advanced shared
facilities to conduct clinical validation, link clinical trial sites with
networks of expert advisors and international bodies, and strengthen all
institutions involved in the facilitation and adoption of global innovations,
technologies, and licensing models.

The
project will also promote industry-academia interface and enable start-ups and
small and medium enterprises to build innovation research capacities for developing
affordable healthcare products.

BIRAC
will now scale-up its efforts across the industry to nurture India’s biopharma
innovation ecosystem. It will facilitate a more collaborative research and
development (R&D) environment, leverage the expertise of local and
international players from both the public and private sectors, and make India
more competitive. It will also help create an ecosystem that facilitates
development of a continuous pipeline of products in the health sector. This
will help India emerge as a low-cost healthcare provider for the world.

“BIRAC has been playing a critical role in
developing and sustaining the innovation ecosystem in India. This landmark
collaboration between the Department of Biotechnology and World Bank will
further catalyse this ecosystem to develop new vaccines, diagnostics and core
R&D technologies of medical technology devices while strengthening the
existing infrastructure and building collaborative partnerships in
parallel,” said Mr Renu
Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and
Technology.

Credit: The World Bank

On
the same day, the Government of India and the World Bank also
signed
another loan agreement for the Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity
Project.

The
US$210-million loan agreement for the Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity Project is expected to
improve the durability, resilience and safety of the gravel surfaced rural
roads and enhance the capacity of the state to manage its rural roads network.

The Project will cover 10,510 km stretch of
rural roads in Madhya Pradesh that fall under the Chief Minister’s Gram Sadak
Yojana (CMGSY) program. Of this 10,000 km will be upgraded from existing gravel
to bituminous surface roads, while 510 km of new roads will be built to the
same bituminous surface standard.

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