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India, UK strike new MedTech pact to fight COVID-19

Innovative Indian medical technology (MedTech) start-ups were on Monday invited by the UK and Indian governments to apply for a Rs 5.6-million manufacturing support program as part of a new bilateral med-tech partnership to combat COVID-19.

The program involves the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) joining forces with the UK government to plug the gap between the demand and supply of ventilators and essential medical equipment, crucial in the fight against the deadly coronavirus.

Selected start-ups, who have until the end of August to apply, will be hosted at AMTZ’s MediValley incubation centre, receiving financial, technical and infrastructure support necessary to make their equipment market-ready.

I am delighted that this new med-tech program takes our partnership even further. I look forward to seeing the life-saving solutions we can pioneer by bringing the best scientific minds from the UK and India together as a force for good in the world, said Sir Philip Barton, the British High Commissioner to India.

COVID-19 affects every human being on the planet and respects no border. The need for collaboration on science and innovation between nations has never been more important, he said.

The envoy highlighted that the UK is already India’s second-biggest research partner, with joint research expected to be worth 400 million pounds by 2021, with five new projects to tackle anti-microbial resistance announced last month.

The new med-tech program follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed recently between the UK government and AMTZ and aims to boost med-tech collaboration between the two countries by creating direct research and development linkages between UK companies and AMTZ’s manufacturing and testing facilities, as well as to the wider Indian healthcare market.

“AMTZ is happy to sign a memorandum of understanding with the British High Commission for encouraging innovations in medical devices, particularly on those products that are necessary for fight against the pandemic”, said Dr Jitendar Sharma, Managing Director and CEO, AMTZ.

Through this partnership, British High Commission and AMTZ aims to encourage a number of innovators and provide them with technical, technological, financial, entrepreneurial and strategic hand holding enabling them to leapfrog from idea to innovation and from a start-up to an established enterprise. This is with an aim to serve the global innovation community, he said.

The call for applications is open to all Indian start-ups, micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and innovators, including those at prototype, development, pilot, validation, early traction, and scaling stages.

It signifies a major development as part of the UK-India Tech Partnership, which was established in 2018 to bring together the best tech minds from both countries to deliver high-skilled jobs and economic growth as well as to collectively tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

AMTZ is an enterprise under the government of Andhra Pradesh, dedicated to medical device manufacturing.

It has reserved 100,000 square feet rent-free manufacturing space for start-ups to facilitate quick commercialisation of successful solutions. It has been contracted by the government of India for the manufacture of ventilators and other essential medical equipment, such as masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, etc.
MediValley is the incubation and innovation arm of AMTZ, funded by NITI Aayog, as Atal Incubation Council. – PTI

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