BioSpectrum India Magazine November issue BioSpectrum India Magazine - Page 11 | November 2017 | BioSpectrum l POLICY AND REGULATORY NEWS Government plans for setting more 49 cancer centres Bihar initiates second phase of Health programme Bihar health Minister Mangal Pandey launched the second phase of technical support programme by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and CARE India recently. Augmenting the sustained efforts to achieve key health and nutrition outcomes, the state government had signed a memorandum of cooperation with BMGF in 2010. Accordingly, a technical support unit (TSU) was established in the state in 2014. In the first phase of the TSU, it worked closely with the health department and integrated child development services (ICDS) on maternal and child health, family planning and nutrition intervention. The minister stated that despite some positive changes in healthcare scenario in the state, there were many areas that would further be looked into in the second phase of TSU programme. He also stressed on the use of technology to bring efficiency in the health delivery system and connect healthcare workers such as ASHA workers to these technologies. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has entered into an agreement to collaborate on vaccine research and development with international vaccine development organisation International Vaccine Institute (IVI). Through this partnership, India will commit $5,00,000 (Rs 3.20 crore) annually for a stake in IVI—an amount approved during a cabinet meeting in January. Under its latest Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ICMR will be focused on research and development of vaccines combatting various infectious diseases. Under ICMR’s latest partnership, vaccine candidates developed in IVI labs could be brought to India and given to one of the companies here for further development. IVI may also facilitate further global testing of vaccine candidates developed in Indian labs by linking developers here with global partners. The partnership is further expected to help with capacity building for clinical trials within India as well. The MoU is also expected to help support companies like Bharat Biotech, which has completed phase I clinical trials of its chikungunya vaccine and has expressed the need for support in conducting phase II and III trials for the candidate. Assam to establish technology incubation centre The Assam government has started a process to set up a technology incubation centre at Guwahati Biotech Park, seeking to promote new businesses in biotechnology and allied areas. The initiative will facilitate faster penetration of biotech industry and accelerate research and development activities in biotechnology and related fields with effective utilisation of the rich natural resources of this region. It will also help educate and utilise local human resources. Assam and the Northeast are rich in natural resources and its biodiversity holds potential to capture the markets of the entire Southeast Asia through concentration in the organic sector. Biotechnological interventions can immensely help Assam in becoming an organic hub. A judicious mix of biotechnological know-how and conventional farming would immensely gear up the agro-based industry in the state. 64 bighas of land have already been earmarked for setting up a permanent campus for the Guwahati Biotech Park at Amingaon. The government has sanctioned Rs 35 crore for the construction of the technology incubation centre and work for it is expected to complete in 2019. 11