Villgro Innovations invests in diagnostics startup OmiX Labs

Social enterprise incubator Villgro Innovations Foundation has invested Rs 50 lakh ($74,000) in Bangalore-based healthcare company OmiX Research and Diagnostics Laboratories Pvt Ltd.

The startup will use the money to set up a tech platform for DNA testing that it claims will help diagnose a wide range of diseases. The company says it has built a hand-held portable device for diagnosis and prognosis of vector-borne infections. This would reduce the time and cost to detect infectious disease pathogens.

“This platform allows for cost-effective DNA testing for pathogens, outside of laboratory settings, to address this stark gap in our healthcare systems,” said Sudeshna Adak, co-founder and CEO of OmiX. “Delay in diagnosis and late or inappropriate treatment increases the risk of complications, higher morbidity and mortality, and increased cost to the patient.”

The company was launched in 2014 by Adak and her husband, Abhinanda Sarkar. An alumnus of Stanford University, Adak had earlier worked with GE Healthcare, IBM India Research Lab and Harvard School of Public Health. Sarkar, also an alumnus from the same university, earlier worked with GE, IBM and MIT.

The startup recently won the Biotechnology Ignition Grant of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council and Unitus StartHealth Competition.

Mukesh Sharma, chief investment officer, Villgro, said the startup can make a long-term impact and its tech platform has tremendous potential to save lives through early diagnosis and treatment.

Chennai-based Villgro usually invests between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 65 lakh for initial incubation. Started in 2001, Villgro funds and incubates early-stage, innovation-based, for-profit social enterprises that impact the lives of India’s poor. It has so far incubated 109 such enterprises, generated around 4,000 jobs, and secured Rs 112 crore in follow-on funding.

In May this year, Villgro invested about $100,000 in the form of grant and equity in Pune-based biomedical device startup Nayam Innovations Pvt Ltd.

Early this year, Villgro Innovations raised Rs 20 crore (over $3.2 million) from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to incubate and fund education startups.

In November last year, Villgro picked seven companies—Vectordoc, Microx Labs, Kamal Kisan, Flybird Innovations, SustainEarth Pvt. Ltd, Bempu Health Pvt. Ltd and Skilltrain Training and Consultancy India Pvt. Ltd—for its second set of incubation and funding programme, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle.

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