New World Bank Project to Invest in Technology that Addresses India’s Public Health Priorities

May 31, 2017

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2017 – The World Bank will support India in developing an innovative biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry, which is globally competitive and addresses the country’s major concerns around barriers to affordable healthcare.

The $125 million Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project (I3), approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors today, 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.

This project will support Government of India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Program (BIRAC), set up five years ago to support innovative start-ups and collaborations through strategic partnerships.

BIRAC will now scale-up its efforts across the industry and focus on providing the ingredients that are currently missing in India’s biopharma innovation ecosystem. It will facilitate a more collaborative research and development environment (R&D), 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.

“India is emerging as a global player in many areas. This is certainly the case in the areas of bio-generic medicines, vaccinations and medical devices. Indeed, 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,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “The proposed project is designed to leverage India’s potential and capability to achieve this global goal,’’ he added.

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.

“To achieve Government of India’s aim of creating a $100 billion biotech industry by 2025, the focus has to be on generating new biopharmaceutical products targeted at India’s public health priorities, promoting innovation in technologies and R&D, establishing India as a world class bio-manufacturing hub, and building the required skilled workforce for affordable and accessible health technologies,” said Manju Haththotuwa, Lead Private Sector Specialist and Jorge Coarasa Senior Health Economist and World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for this project.

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

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