India's life science startups work to turn research into successful business ventures- report

February 1
1:12 PM 2014

Life science startups in India are willing to undertake higher risks in their quest to turn their research into successful business ventures, The Economic Times reported. One of these is Sea6 Energy, a startup based in Bangalore composed students at IIT-Madras that aimed to convert seaweed to bio fuel, the report said.

When they were still forming the company, those who heard of their quest said they were following a pipe dream. However, in just four years, the five-member team was able to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat. It recently forged a partnership with Novozymes, an industrial enzyme maker, for the creation of novel products that can improve the process of transforming seaweed into ethanol. It was also able to develop technology to produce natural gas using the same process, the report said.

Now, Sea6 has filed three patent applications and has received angel funding worth Rs 6.5 crore and is already on the road to seeking commercial applications for their product. Sea6 and the other startups that have turned their research into business ventures are making a change in the life sciences sector of India. Ten years ago, the life sciences sector of the country primarily offered contract manufacturing or generic drug development services. The business model was such that scientists were supplied to work on a particular period for a certain amount of time, the report said.

According to experts, the shift began as the industry started to expand and ambitious entrepreneurs started to work on a wide range of applications that included the development of nanomedicine that had the power to shrink tumors to the creation of drugs that would encourage damaged organs to self-heal. More angel investors and venture capitalists have also been more willing to finance these life sciences firms in the past few years, the report said.

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