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Three Indian woman biotechnologists make it to Forbes’ 2018 W-Power Trailblazers

Three women who have made the Biotechnology industry proud with their pioneering contributions have entered the Forbes India W-Power Trailblazers list.

By Team ABLE

Marking International Woman’s Day that falls on March 8th every year, Forbes India Magazine has released a list of the most powerful Indian women in their compilation titled Forbes’ 2018 W-Power Trailblazers. These women have etched a memorable mark in many male-dominated industries with their path breaking innovations.

Entering that prestigious list are three women who have made the Biotechnology industry proud with their pioneering contributions to the society through their innovations.

    1. 2018 W-Power Trailblazers: Kavitha Sairam
Kavitha Sairam, aged 40, is the co-Founder of FIB-SOL Life Technologies. The name FIB-SOL stands for Fibre Solutions. And it stands for two things: One, FIB-SOL, the venture she co-founded that provides nanofibre solutions to problems in agriculture and eventually in health care, and second, the fact that it provides both the proprietary nanofibre material and solutions around it.

Last December, Sairam, 40, and her co-founder Anant Shyam Raheja won the top prize in India’s first National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition. That got them ?10 lakh in prize money from Ankur Seeds, and also the opportunity to negotiate a $100,000 funding round from the Tata Trust-backed Social Alpha, with mentoring thrown in. The startup has raised around ?1.1 crore via grants and awards. Over the last four months, FIB-SOL has begun to commercialize its product. The next step is to increase production capacity to make enough biofertilisers for 20,000 acres per month, which will take another six months. 

    2. 2018 W-Power Trailblazers: Anu Acharya
Anu Acharya, aged 46, is the CEO of Mapmygenome India, a personal genomics company. As Acharya would cut the jargon and tell you, her company “allows healthy people to stay healthy” by decoding their genetic makeup and guides them on “how to become healthier”. By 2030, she expects to touch a 100 million lives and save a million.

Mapmygenome is Acharya’s second startup in the field of genetics. In 2000, she started Ocimum Biosolutions, a genomic services company. While Ocimum is still run by its other founders, Acharya has moved beyond laboratory information management systems and pure informatics to delve into the world of personal genomics. She launched Mapmygenome in 2013. Today, the Hyderabad-based company is also building a database of associations between gene mutations and traits or conditions specific to the Indian population to advance personalised medicine in the country. The company has processed more than 10,000 samples so far through ‘Genomepatri’ (a take-off on janampatri, or horoscope), a simple, saliva-based test to decode DNA and predict genetic risk for 100-plus diseases, traits, drug responses and carrier statuses. The company has raised $1.1 million pre-series A funding, and founder investment of around $2 million in 2016. Some of its prominent investors include Rajan Anandan, vice president, Southeast Asia and India, and managing director of Google India, and Ratan Tata. Mapmygenome has clocked a compound annual growth rate of 84 percent for the past 3 years. It will end the year with ?6 crore in revenues and negative EBITDA.

    3.  2018 W-Power Trailblazers: Arunima Patel
Arunima Patel, aged 39, is the Managing Director of iGenetic Diagnostics. For patients with infections such as septicemia, a quick diagnosis can often mean the difference between life and death. Isolating the cause of such infections with a regular laboratory test takes up to two days, resulting in high mortality. iGenetic Diagnostics, by making use of molecular diagnostic testing and identifying biological markers in a person’s DNA, can help doctors identify the cause of the infection in less than four hours. “They are far superior in their specificity and sensitivity,” says Arunima Patel, who founded the company in 2013. Over the last year, the Mumbai-based firm has expanded into the critical care, oncology and infertility spaces, with tests for the onset of certain cancers, Down’s Syndrome, thalassaemia and sickle-cell anaemia. Testing is done mainly at the 10,000-sq feet laboratory in Andheri, Mumbai, where the company can keep a strict control on its intellectual property.

After Patel raised ?6.5 crore from high net-worth individuals in 2016, she raised a further ?130 crore from CDC Group and Manipal Education and Medical Group in February 2017. Patel’s main task is to expand the roster of hospitals and laboratories that offer its tests, for which she pitches to doctors, and not the purchase department, as this ensures they spread the word to other doctors. Patel plans to expand to the Middle East, and beyond the five Indian states they now operate in, start regular laboratory testing in Maharashtra, which will give them a steady revenue stream and allow them to make use of their facilities full time.

Source and Credit: Forbes India