CAMPUS II: RGCB BIO-INNOVATION CENTER (BIC)

Over the past several years RGCB has set a high standard of research and development in selected areas of Biotechnology. The institute has made impressive advances in areas of disease biology and its track record in creating trained competent manpower in biotechnology through its innovative PhD program has been well appreciated.

To take these basic advances forward and to create an environment where knowledge generated through fundamental research in disease biology and molecular medicine gets translated to innovative new tools and products, the Prime Minister's Office announced a grant of Rupees 100 crores to allow the further development of RGCB.

Subsequent to this the Department of Biotechnology approved an SFC that will allow RGCB to create a specialized ecosystem called Bio-Innovation Center (BIC). This will be a unique knowledge centre and hub for mid and high level innovation founded on deep and advanced level technical platforms, multidisciplinary cores that will seed growth and innovation. Following this the Government of Kerala responded by allotting at no cost 20 acres of land in the heart of Trivandrum City close to all major medical institutions, to build this new venture.

The key goals of BIC in the first phase (12th Plan) shall include programs to evolve itself into a hub for research on vaccines & immunotherapeutics, molecular diagnostics and biomarkers, chemical & nano-biotechnology and tropical disease biology. Such R&D strategies will also be accompanied by programs that impart international quality biotechnology education and training to graduates and postgraduates in science, engineering and medicine.

In the next phase the BIC will strive to begin a state of the art "Advanced Center for Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics" that will involve a 75 bed hospital jointly run with the Regional Cancer Centre, which will offer cutting edge technologies, therapies and clinical trials for cancer vaccines, immunotherapeutics and in addition therapies such as stem cell replacements, gene therapy, molecular tumor targeting and imaging. The second phase will also offer to investors, entrepreneurs, biotech and bio-pharma companies a state- of- the-art research facility incorporating a unique "test and prove platform" which will provide all pre-clinical, analytical, toxicological and biological assays to validate a biotech or biological products besides offering shared facilities and start-up technological and business development Incubators. This no doubt will contribute to the development of biotechnology in the country.

Considering the delays that will be expected in construction of new buildings and not wanting to compromise on the effects of such delays to scientific output, the RGCB Governing Council approved a transit facility to install major equipment and creation of new laboratories. This was all the more important in view of critical space shortage in the main RGCB campus. The transit facility located at the KINFRA Film and Video Park in Thiruvananthapuram now houses the RGCB's Bio-Imaging, Genomics and Laboratory Medicine & Molecular Diagnostics core facilities in addition to laboratories for Chemical Biology and Tropical Disease Biology. This facility also hosts research programs of the Srinivasa Ramanujam Institute for Basic Sciences, a R&D institution of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), Government of Kerala. RGCB and KSCSTE have signed a MoU to this effect which provides to RGCB manpower and research funds for hosting and jointly running common research programs.