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Credit: The World Bank

Credit: The World Bank

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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