BENGALURU: Six deep science startups at the Society for Innovation and Development (SID), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), got a boost as they are now supported financially by US-based conglomerate Honeywell.
The decision was announced on Tuesday by the President, Honeywell India, Akshay Bellare, and Chief Executive, Society for Innovation and Development (SID), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) B Gurumoorthy.
Three of the six startups are heavily involved in the COVID-19 crisis, said Bellare, without disclosing the quantum of CSR funds set aside for SID. His visit to IISc before the pandemic hit, he said, gave him the comfort of working with a great institution with an incredible track record for investing CSR funds.
The choice of deep science for Honeywell, Bellare explained, was because of its significant impacts in addressing the problems society is facing currently -- vaccine development for COVID-19, for instance.
The pandemic, he said, highlighted the need for corporates to fund deep science research and development as they are disruptive, can change the game and have significant and positive outcomes.
Gurumoorthy deemed the collaboration an obvious choice for IISc as it can play a role in taking the technology and science done within the institute to the outside world for larger benefits. He added that the number of companies is not frozen and more firms will be identified.
While IISc and SID have a significant chunk of biology and healthcare startups, Gurumoorthy said there are also other spaces such as water, machine learning and software tools thereof, productivity enabling devices and designs of farming sector and three to four firms are developing space and aerospace tehcnology.
Honeywell’s partnership with SID is to support startup ventures working on science and technology projects not related to the company’s core areas of work, but intended to address large, societal problems.
Honeywell’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) contribution will also target needs relating to COVID-19, including building a new class of eco-friendly specialty fluorescent dyes and a rapid point-of-care diagnostics test for use in low resource settings.
Here are the six startups and their products:
Azooka Labs Private Limited -- safer and more stable viral transport medium, and easy-to-deploy point-of-care diagnostic kit that will be useful for testing COVID-19
Siamaf Healthcare Private Limited -- magnetic nanotechnology for radiation-free and affordable cancer diagnosis and therapy
Protein Design Private Limited -- viral antigens for diagnostics and vaccination for COVID-19; works on protein biotechnology
Mimyk Medical Simulations Private Limited -- augmented reality/virtual reality-based laparoscopy simulation platform to train surgeons
HealthSeq Precision Medicine Private Limited -- solutions in precision medicine to enable targeted therapy, reduce risks, and increase efficiencies in the healthcare system
PathShodh Healthcare Private Limited-- re-purposing its technology for rapid and accurate COVID-19 diagnostics, while also eliminating the need for PCR machines