Everything we see around us today has come out of an idea. Implementation of an idea drives innovation and innovation is a constant process of improving the way of living for people. Research and development is like a cog to this wheel. Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), established in 2009, is a non-profit organization driving cutting-edge research and innovation in the life sciences in India. The center, funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, was established to provide an avenue to researchers and entrepreneurs in the biological sciences to pursue risky but socially relevant deep science research and innovation that would otherwise be automatically shelved for lack of resources.
C-CAMP acts as an enabler of Bioscience Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship by providing Research, Development, Training, and Services at state-of-the-art technology platforms. It offers seed funding schemes for Start-ups, Entrepreneur Mentorship and Accelerator programs, and a high-end Bio-incubation facility. The Centre’s aim is to be a cradle for deep science research and entrepreneurship that pushes boundaries of modern science while at the same time addressing social needs.
The Multi-talented Persona
Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed is the CEO and Director of C-CAMP. Initially, he trained in neurosciences, in which he received his PhD from Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany and postdoctoral training at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Simultaneously, he also underwent training in management for Biotech and Innovation from QB3 at UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco. Dr. Saiyed is a seasoned leader with a lot of experience in the biotech industry. Other than guiding C-CAMP towards success, he is also an adjunct faculty at Amrita Institute and head of Discovery to Innovation Accelerator Program at C-CAMP, working on neurodegeneration.
The Success Story
Since its inception, C-CAMP has grown to become a true research and innovation hub whose main USP lies in bringing researchers and innovators from across academia, start-ups, and industry on the same platform. Talking about the organization’s journey of tremendous growth , Dr. Saiyed says, “Since 2009, C-CAMP has diversified from only providing access to high-end technology platforms and incubation space to one of India’s most exciting research and innovation hubs with over 1000+ startups connected to it, 140+ publications and 10+ commercialized products. With many innovation programs that target innovators at different stages, CCAMP is now poised to be a major engine for growth in the start-up ecosystem.”
From lab-space and high-end technical resources, to active involvement in seed funding schemes, scientific and business Mentorship and Accelerator programs, C-CAMP provides a comprehensive, all-round support system to bio entrepreneurs with exciting, yet risky ideas. Or in other words, a one-stop solution to issues faced by researchers in taking bench level research to a marketable product. In the last two years, C-CAMP has launched several new funding and mentorship schemes for innovators from pre-incubation to proof-of-concept, to early-stage, and extending to mature start-ups. Recently, its major focus area has been antimicrobial resistance (AMR), agriculture, and public healthcare through affordable innovations.
C-CAMP is continuously making value additions to its technology platform services through competitive user charges and extensive training programs aimed at strengthening the scientific talent pool in India. “CCAMP is like an engine that fuels research and innovation in biosciences in India. Our services in technology platforms, innovation, and entrepreneurship are geared to provide 360-degree support to the best deep science goals and deep tech ideas across India,” asserts its CEO.
C-CAMP holds many hands-on-cum theoretical training programs. The company has trained 1400+ researchers since 2009. It offers basic and advanced training courses on Flow Cytometry, Mass Spectrometry, Microscopy, and Protein Technology; Microscopy being the most sought-after course, world-over. A year ago, C-CAMP has partnered with GE, in order to provide training in downstream protein processing using the GE Akta protein purification method. Multiple such courses, including a workshop on biosimilars at IICT, Mumbai, in collaboration with BIRAC, have been held by C-CAMP with participants from academia, industry, and even start-ups.
C-CAMP has been recognized for its incredible contribution to the startup ecosystem in India by many prestigious committees and organization. In 2017, it was selected for scale up support under the NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission. In the same year, C-CAMP also won the National Entrepreneurship Award from the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. In 2018, it was selected as the only accelerator outside of North America and Europe under the CARB-X global accelerator network for antimicrobial resistance innovations. With this selection, C-CAMP has joined an exclusive club of 10 global accelerators. C-CAMP has also received the support of Government of Karnataka to launch three new entrepreneurship programs – the K-Tech Agri Innovation Centre, the K-Tech Technology Business Incubator, and a unique round-the-clock mentorship program exclusively for Karnataka-based start-ups, called the Karnataka Startup Advancement Program (KSAP BIO50).
Foreseeing a Bright Tomorrow
With its selection as the only accelerator outside of North America and Europe, C-CAMP aims to foster antimicrobial resistance research and innovation in the country and across Asia. Also, under its recently launched K-Tech Agri Innovation Centre, it is set to promote deep-science/technology driven entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector, leading to innovation, economic development, and job creation in the agricultural domain. C-CAMP is also expanding infrastructure-wise, in 2019. This will scale-up facilities, including the Biologics Characterization Facility. Speaking of future endeavors, Dr. Saiyed says, “CCAMP is looking to expand its portfolio of start-ups in Antimicrobial Resistance, Agriculture, sustainable solutions, and affordable rural healthcare. We support startups working in these areas and plan to identify and support many more innovations in this space.”