Pfizer: Supporting innovation and IP creation in the pharmaceutical
The following diagram describes the kind of support Pfizer and FITT-IIT Delhi provided to the programme participants.
Synergies in the engagement
The model employed in this engagement serves as an example of how a corporate can (a) use its CSR funds to support collaborations with academia, (b) fulfil its commitment to promoting innovation and (c) attract talent through its association with a reputable academic institution.
The academic institution benefits from access to funding, exposure to corporate practices, and
The Pfizer IIT-Delhi Innovation and
IP Programme Non-funding support
• Resident incubation
• Mentoring by IIT Delhi faculty and external experts
• Access to infrastructure
• Access to VCs/ industry linkages
• Access to IP search and filing services
SGBs in health care
Periodic review sessions Corporate
Technology business incubator
(implementing agency for the programme)
• Grant up to INR 5 million Non-funding support
• Mentoring provided by Pfizer experts
Seeking support on translating health care ideas into new business
opportunities Seeking IP-related support
corporate connections that it can leverage for the benefit of its incubatees.
Programme structure and chain of impact The following table provides details of the output, outcome and impact of the programme. As the programme has two components, the table provides details on applicable differences in the programme structure.
structure The programme has two components:
1. Residential support for translating biotech and health care ideas into new business opportunities
Funding support Non-funding support
Funding of up to INR 5 million to support the
conversion of ideas into proof of concept for IP • Two years of resident incubation at IIT Delhi’s bio- incubator
• Mentoring and guidance
• IIT Delhi faculty
• Experts nominated by FITT
• Pfizer global experts
• Access to infrastructure, laboratories for prototyping, office space
• IP-related support – search and filing services
• Access to networks – VCs, industry linkages
2. Non-residential support for IP-related issues
Funding support Non-funding support
Funding to cover patenting expenses Access to IP counselling services at FITT
method Open application with the following selection criteria
• Level of innovation/technology
• Stage of product development cycle
• Technical knowledge
• Potential for commercialisation or creating an impact
• Ability of the team to deliver Performance
assessment Periodic performance reviews on progress and milestones achieved Criteria for
success For IP support: IP generation
For resident incubation: the set-up of the ventures Programme
history • Initiated in 2015
• Number of rounds delivered so far (as of June 2016): one
• Number of innovators and start-ups supported so far: two have received residential incubation and three have received IP support
• Number of successful innovators and start-ups: data not yet available (as the programme is still in its first round)
PROCESS CHAIN Niche Generic
High involvement Low involvement
Corporate: use of CSR funds to support a technology business incubator for the pharmaceutical sector.
Intermediary: access to funding, Pfizer resources and brand visibility.
Innovators and start-ups:
receipt of support tailored for the health care sector
The model serves as proof of concept for industry–
academia collaborations financed with CSR funds.
Enabling the innovator/start- up to translate its innovative idea into intellectual property, monetise the idea and unlock its value.
Output Outcome Impact
This engagement offers the corporate and the intermediary an opportunity to understand the challenges faced by innovators and start-ups related to IP generation and the conversion of IP into business opportunities in the Indian context.
Additionally, as this engagement supports innovators and start-ups to pursue novel ideas and incentivises IP generation, it is expected that it will put IP issues firmly on the agenda of innovators and entrepreneurs operating in the biotechnology and health care domains.
Assessment of the engagement model Strengths
In this engagement model, the respective strengths of the corporates (industry expertise, resources and network) and academia can be harnessed to support innovators and start-ups and promote innovation in the biotechnology and health care domains.
The model is designed to encourage and incentivise IP generation in the ecosystem by promoting collaborations between industry, R&D institutions and academia.
This model of engagement is ideal for replication in cases where a corporate is keen to collaborate with an academic institution’s incubator to support innovators. This model can be applied across sectors.
In the biotechnology and health care domains, both of which are highly regulated, converting ideas into IP and viable business opportunities is inherently effort and cost intensive. As these sectors witness significant levels of failure, the model should factor in the identification of high-risk ideas and deploy suitable additional mechanisms, such as fund augmentation or a longer period of engagement, to mitigate these risks.
Corporates seeking to contribute to the ecosystem need to identify gaps in the
ecosystem and then assess how they can best deploy their resources. In this example, having identified the need to improve IP generation in the biotechnology and health care sectors, the corporate–incubator partnership developed a collaborative engagement programme focused on delivering IP-related support.