Even as the academia and industries worldwide are actively involved in finding a solution to the growing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection in terms of new screening/diagnostic tests, vaccines and therapeutic options, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will soon begin research on HPV prevention and control. The DBT’s initiative in this regard is significant as HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer in the world. India bears 30 per cent of the burden of cervical cancer worldwide. The lack of awareness in rural areas and the lifestyle of women in urban areas worsen the situation of cervical cancer in the country. Low-cost, e?ective solutions are required for the prevention and treatment of HPV infections.
The DBT will conduct this research programme under its Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP). The DBT has invited proposals from eligible biotech companies to conduct research on HPV prevention and control.
Some of the indicative priority areas for submitting proposals include simple, sensitive, accurate and affordable screening tests (standard self-screening methods that are independent of individual interpretation); simple, sensitive, specific and acceptable diagnostic tests (cost effective and applicable to low resource settings); vaccines covering additional number of HPV types; process optimization for cost effective vaccine production; development of vaccines with specified duration of protection; and development of new therapeutic options including products of natural origin.
A single or consortia of Indian companies small, medium or large having in-house R&D units, alone or in collaboration with a partner from another company, institute or organisation are eligible to participate in the research programme. The main industry applicant should have DSIR recognised in-house R&D unit; alternatively, the applicant should be incubated at an incubation centre/biotech park which has a valid SIRO/DSIR certificate.
The last date for submission of proposals under this regular call is July 31, 2014. BIPP is a government partnership programme with industry for support on a cost sharing basis targeted at development of novel and high risk futuristic technologies mainly for viability gap funding and enhancing existing R&D capacities of start-ups and SMEs in key areas of national importance and public good.
DBT is operating this scheme through BIRAC, a not-for-profit public sector undertaking set up by DBT to promote and nurture innovation research in biotech enterprises specially start-ups and SMEs. Major thrust of the programme is towards funding technologies which address a major national problem and/or involves high level of innovation.