Kerala in biotech arrangement with Avesthagen

Wednesday, 27 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A week after announcing its biotechnology policy, the Kerala government has signed an agreement with a top firm to leverage the state's rich biodiversity and expertise in traditional healing systems like ayurveda.

John Mathai, Kerala's principal secretary for industries, and Villoo Morawala-Patell, CEO and founder of Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Avesthagen), signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) here on Tuesday.

The two sides agreed to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which will be a new company incorporated through the strategic alliance of Bangalore-based Avesthagen and Kerala's industries department.

The SPV will be constituted within three months with a minimum initial corpus of 100 million. Avesthagen will assist and support the SPV to establish state-of-the-art biotechnology infrastructure and expertise in Kerala.

As a first step, a steering committee is being formed comprising two members from either side who will prepare a detailed business plan, including specific research objectives, investment particulars and milestones.

Avesthagen will take the lead, with necessary support from the industries department, in securing funding for the SPV.

The MoU envisages the SPV offering world-class means to interested institutions and individuals within Kerala and elsewhere who wish to get their traditional medicine products evaluated and validated for potential marketing globally.

The SPV shall through Avesthagen enter into suitable arrangements with Avesthagen Inc. of the U.S. and find other suitable partners to aid in the marketing of its products worldwide.

Industries Minister P.K. Kunjalikutty said the government is interested in promoting industrial initiatives and investment within Kerala that utilize the state's biodiversity resources in a sustainable, scientific, efficient and profitable manner while ensuring that the intellectual property rights of stakeholders is protected.

Avesthagen's Morawala-Patell said: "The SPV will create and offer access to state-of-the-art biotechnology infrastructure and expertise within the state of Kerala for the validation of traditional medicine and herbal remedies for end-to-end development of phytoceuticals and allied products as per the current and emerging standards applicable to national and international markets."

Source: IANS
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