ICMR at IITs for fostering medical device, diagnostics innovation

NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has joined hands with Indian Institutes of Technology ((IITs)) to establish “ICMR at IITs” by setting-up Centres of Excellence (CoE) for Make-in-India product development and their commercialisation in medical devices and diagnostics space .

The thematic areas under the CoE have been designed to ensure that products/ technologies so developed by CoEs synergize with the requirements of the National Health Mission, Ayushman Bharat and Public Health Programmes of the union government.

The ICMR-DHR CoE have been set up at six IITs to begin with viz., IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras. The setting-up of the “ICMR at IITs” will bridge the gap in the technology development and commercialisation cycle for a larger public health impact. The medical device industry in India is currently valued at $7-8 billion and is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2025, as per industry estimates. 

Since the Indian healthcare sector is heavily dependent on imports for its medical device needs and imports about 80% of medical devices, the setting up of ICMR at IITs under the ambitious Medical Device and Diagnostics Mission Secretariat set-up at ICMR Headquarters will help address this gap by fostering development of robust, state-of-the-art, ‘Make in India’ Medical device and diagnostics by partnering with IITs. The ICMR-DHR CoE at IITs will in turn collaborate with the medical institutes to develop need driven, affordable and inclusive healthcare solutions for their wider adoption.

Balram Bharagava, secretary, Department of Health Research (DHR) and Director General, ICMR, addressed the directors and deans of the IITs at ICMR headquarters in New Delhi and offered support and commitment for this initiative. 

The setting-up of ICMR-DHR CoE at IITs will create a pipeline of innovative medical devices, start-ups and will incentivise and motivate local manufacturing in India and provide holistic support to the technologies/ products nearing commercialisation. As most of the medical devices available in India are not affordable, the philosophy behind the scheme is to develop “more for less for more” to ensure wider product outreach with a mandate to promote “Global Affordable Need Driven Healthcare Innovation” (GANDHI). This will have significant impact on improving access to affordable quality healthcare, particularly for middle and lower income segments of the Indian population.

The Council will ensure large scale implementation of the programme, contributing towards economic growth by import substitution and will also look forward to take these technologies for scale-up and commercialisation in public private partnership through involvement of industries.

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