AI for Pharma & Biotech : AI Innovators Honored

Dec 26, 2023

GRUS & Grade Pvt Ltd and Sciinv Biosciences Pvt Ltd emerged as the first and second prize winners, respectively in a competitive startup pitch competition, held during the finale of the ‘AI for Pharma & Biotech’ workshop, organised by the Federation of Asian Biotech Associations (FABA) in association with Science Gurus, University of Hyderabad and the World Trade Center (WTC) Shamshabad. 

The workshop has celebrated the remarkable achievements of AI-based startups in the pharma and biotech sectors, alongside six days of enriching sessions by over 30 global speakers and participants. Grus & Grade has bagged their prize for their ground breaking solutions in agriculture, supply chain, and financial sectors while winning the prize with their focus on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) containment. 

The event was judged by an esteemed jury including Dr Harish Iyer from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sanchit Nanda of Gilead Sciences, Dr Kishore Dhara from Bourntec, and Dr Manni Kantipudi, CEO of Aragen Life Sciences. They underscored the burgeoning role of AI in diverse industries. 

Grus & Grade, led by CEO Ravi Soni, stood out for their transformative impact in the agri-tech and fintech sectors. Their platform ‘Upajguru’ employs cutting-edge technologies like IoT, blockchain and AI to revolutionise agriculture, addressing key challenges such as reduced food income and increased use of pesticides. 

Sciinv Biosciences, represented by Krishna, gained acclaim for their pioneering AMRx tool, aimed at a culture-free companion diagnostic tool that is transforming the approach to diagnosing and treating Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). The uniqueness of AMRxTM lies in its ability to streamline and reduce unwarranted clinical investigations, making it a boon in resource-limited settings. 

As a clinical decision support tool, it aids healthcare professionals in prescribing the most appropriate empirical antibiotics, ensuring timely and effective treatment of infections. Prof Reddanna, Executive President of FABA, emphasised on the critical need for a dedicated startup ecosystem in India, particularly for the pharma and bio- tech industries. 

He drew a thought-provoking comparison between India’s emerging ecosystem and those of the Bay Area and Boston, identifying areas for growth and learning. He lauded FABA for its instrumental role in bridging the ecosystem gap, nurturing entrepreneurship, and fostering a culture of innovation among young startups. 

Dr. Ratnakar, Secretary General, FABA highlighted the Department of Biotechnology’s initiative for bio-AI hubs and the impact of AI in biotechnology, emphasizing the workshop's educational value and FABA’s ongoing commitment. 

Y Varaprasad Reddy, Chairman of WTC Shamshabad, spoke about the collaboration with FABA and the role of WTC in bridging startups with investors and a media center focusing on public health. 

Dr Burri Ranga Reddy, President of the Infection Control Academy of India (IFCAI), underlined the importance of social impact in industry endeavours and introduced PRASHO, a foundation for advancing health outcomes.