THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) Bio-Innovation Centre (BIC) Phase I was inaugurated by Union Minister for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan here on Sunday.
The new facility, part of which went live a couple of months ago, is situated inside the KINFRA Film and Video Park.
Four important divisions of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Poojappura, has been shifted to BIC Phase-1.
These are Microbiome Biology; Chemical Biology- I and II; Viral Disease Biology; and Laboratory Medicine and Molecular Diagnostics.
The diagnostics division is a service arm which has been providing DNA-based testing for various genetic diseases, as well as molecular virology and bacteriology.
Presiding over, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy requested whether the Union Minister could take the initiative to set up a Bio-safety Level IV Facility.
He said that Kerala, with its floating population of people from various parts of the world, and migratory birds, was at the perennial risk of viral infections.
He said that the investment in a Bio-Safety Facility, might amount to Rs 100 crore, but it would be worth the money as it can cater to all of South India.
Responding to it, Harsh Vardhan said that he would sincerely look into the matter, but before making a public statement he would study the issue.
He assured that anything that is in the larger interest of the country would be encouraged.
Harsh Vardhan said that the biotechnology sector was growing at 30 per cent rate and would be a 100 billion dollar sector in 10 years.
RGCB Director M Radhakrishna Pillai shared that the tender processes for Bio-Innovation Centre Phase II, to be set up at Akkulam, has started.
The Phase II facility will have a 50-bed hospital to be run by the Regional Cancer Centre, where clinical trials will be taken up.
Around 20 acres of land has been given by the State Government for this.
Originally the Phase I building was meant to be a transit facility to temporarily keep the high-end infrastructure, before those could be permanently installed at Akkulam.
However, now that so much of investment has gone into the KINFRA facility, the RGCB governing body has decided to make it Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology Bio-Innovation Centre Phase 1.
Spread over 50,000 square feet, the facility will also host research programmes of Srinivasa Ramanujam Institute for Basic Sciences, a KSCSTE R&D institution.