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Wadhwani Research Centre for Bioengineering, IIT Bombay

WRCB Newsletter Issue 1
30th September 2022

From the Director's Desk

"Since its inception, the Wadhwani Research centre for Bioengineering (WRCB) has been doing outstanding work in translating academic research into marketable products and technologies that can strongly impact the society. WRCB provides a collaborative interdisciplinary platform for IIT Bombay researchers to come together and work on engineering solutions for the healthcare needs of India and other emerging economies. At WRCB, our vision is to become a world-leading centre of excellence for translation and commercialization of bioengineering research. I invite researchers from academia and industry, healthcare professionals, non-profit foundations and investors to work with us to strengthen the bioengineering research ecosystem in India." Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, Director IIT Bombay

Welcome Note
Welcome to the first newsletter of the Wadhwani Research Centre for Bioengineering (WRCB). WRCB aspires to become a flagship center for translation of bioengineering research. At WRCB, we fund interdisciplinary research rooted in deep scientific discovery. We support faculty by curating external funding opportunities and 'need' statements from potential industry partners. Our network of consultants provide feedback on research projects funded by WRCB.  

I am excited to announce that in the forthcoming years, we will design additional funding calls that address India's dependence on imported healthcare technology and plan to create 'Young Scientist-Entrepreneur' grants for encouraging students engaged in bioengineering research to explore entrepreneurship.
We additionally look forward to increased collaboration with other entities in IIT Bombay, such as, TCTD, BETIC, KCDH, SINE, DSSE, SOM.
This quarterly newsletter brings to you the activities and impact of the WRCB, featuring insights and developments from the centre, and in the areas of Therapeutics, Diagnostics, MedTech and Synthetic Biology. Prof Debjani Paul, Professor-in-Charge, WRCB, IIT Bombay. 
Vision for the Wadhwani Research Centre for Bioengineering (WRCB)
Vision for the Wadhwani Research Centre for Bioengineering at IIT Bombay, shared by Dr. Romesh WadhwaniFounder, Wadhwani Foundation. 

ImmunoAct, a cell and gene therapy company focussed on CAR-T cell therapy for cancer treatment graduates to a new GMP facility from its original home at IIT Bombay

ImmunoAct, a startup at SINE, an IIT Bombay incubator, is a pioneer for CAR-T based cell therapy for cancer therapy in India. After completing its translation Research and Development (R&D) and receiving encouraging results in Phase I trials in partnership with Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), ImmunoAct recently inaugurated a dedicated commercial scale cGMP facility in Navi Mumbai. “The new facility is envisioned to be a center of excellence that will help position India to become an R&D hub for new innovation, products and services in the space of cell & gene therapy”. Prof. Rahul Purwar – Founder & CEO of ImmunoACT.

The therapy is expected to have a major societal impact by addressing a major gap in affordable CAR-T based cell therapy for cancer patients in India. The therapy is expected to enter Phase II trials in 2023 and become commercially available in 2024. This success story from bench to bedside, is a shining example of the collaboration between academia – industry collaboration in India. Read an interview with Prof. Rahul Purwar about the new facility here

Prof. Purwar’s early stage research leading to the launch of ImmunoAct, received catalytic funding support from WRCB in 2017. Other organizations including the Tata Trust, ICMR, DBT and Laurus Labs have supported ImmunoAct in its journey from research to commercialization and scale-up.

Prof. Debjani Paul, Professor-in-charge, WRCB wins the prestigious P. K. Patwardhan Technology Development Award of IIT Bombay for 2021

The P. K. Patwardhan Technology Development Award of IIT Bombay was introduced in 2001 to recognize the best technology developed by a team from IIT Bombay. Prof. Debjani Paul won the award for ShapeDx, a technology innovation developed by her team as a high-accuracy, point-of-care sickle cell test. 

Prof. Paul’s research leading to the development of ShapeDx, received funding support via the WRCB Partnership of Academia and Industry for Research in Engineering and Development (PAIRED) program in 2019.

WRCB Events
Upcoming Event!

WRCB Summit on Next Generation Therapeutics 
(18th November 2022)

WRCB announces its one day, in - person summit on ‘next generation therapeutics’. WRCB summits are organized around current and upcoming topics of interest in academia and industry. In this summit, we aim to bring experts - academics, scientists, industry leaders, clinicians, government and non-profit representatives, incubation and startups – together to share their thought leadership in the domains of Drug Discovery and Delivery and Regenerative Medicine (cell therapy and tissue medicine). The event will catalyse discussions and potential collaborations between the stakeholders. Click here for more information.

One-day summit on ‘Low-cost diagnostics for affordable healthcare’ 

A one-day summit on ‘Low-cost diagnostics for affordable healthcare’ was organised by Wadhwani Research Centre for Bioengineering (WRCB), IIT Bombay, on 3rd June 2022. Here is a glimpse of the event.

IIT Bombay's Annual CSR Conclave 2022

IIT Bombay held a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conclave on July 6, 2022. WRCB co-sponsored the event. The objective of the conclave was to provide a platform for socially conscious corporates to partner with IITB PIs to address various national and global challenges (such as climate change, healthcare, sustainability, advanced manufacturing, etc) and create a tangible societal impact through technological innovations. The event provided an opportunity for WRCB to showcase several WRCB-supported projects doing cutting-edge research in the relevant areas and build contacts to support the ongoing research activities. 

Interactive seminar on 'Investor Readiness for Deep Science Startups'

On 16th September 2022, WRCB held a seminar by Mr. Suraj Nair of Ankur Capital Fund (WRCB's Ecosystem Partner) on Investor Readiness for Deep Science Startups, as part of the WRCB Seminar Series. Here is a glimpse of the event. 
Ecosystem Partners
We build strategic partnerships with educational institutes, industry, investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists who share our vision of making breakthrough scientific discoveries accessible for commercial purposes. For more information click here
WRCB External Fundraising Support (EFS) Service
The EFS service is a new addition to the bioengineering research support provided by WRCB to PIs from IIT Bombay towards raising external funds for bioengineering research. We envision that, once fully operational, the EFS service would play a key role in providing centralised support to WRCB PIs over the full course of the external funding cycle. WRCB plans to provide the following services at “pre-award” stages under this new EFS initiative.

Please reach out to us in case you have any suggestions or questions on the WRCB EFS services.

For more information on the EFS support click here

Industry Pulse

Podcast on 'Translational Research in Deep Science Tech'

Translational research can help solve real world problems and is key towards building commercial deep science products. Listen to Dr. Abdur Rub, CEO, Wadhwani Research Centre for Bioengineering, IIT Bombay talk about the advantages of translational research in healthcare and allied fields. Listen to the podcast here.

A curated list of recent industry developments in areas of interest to WRCB can be accessed here
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