Home / Companies / News /  Vyome Biosciences | Under the skin

New Delhi: In 2008, when venture capitalist (and now also an occasional columnist for Livemint.com) Rajeev Mantri returned to India after a brief stint with a venture fund, he was looking for investment opportunities. A chance meeting with Shiladitya Sengupta, a professor at Harvard Medical School and, subsequently, Rajesh Gokhale, head of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi, resulted, in 2010, in the creation of Vyome Biosciences.

For three years now, Vyome has focused on building its team (of now 25 scientists) and intellectual property. The venture is being mentored by R.A. Mashelkar, former head of India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and now president of Global Research Alliance, a network of publicly funded research and development institutes in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US. The presence of Mantri, whose Navam Capital is an investor, makes it unique in the Indian context.

“In India, venture capitalists are less entrepreneurial. They tend to wait until a firm is more established or already has revenue rather than proactively sort of building together teams and pursuing market opportunities," said Mantri, who is president of Vyome. “In the US, it is not uncommon for an investor to build teams together. We are implementing the same model here."

Vyome has two labs in Delhi, where it carries out its research and develops products in three categories: anti-fungal and anti-bacterial treatment; the treatment of diabetic ulcers; and the treatment of skin pigmentation disorders. “The Indian dermatology industry is a substantial industry with a lot of players. But since we are coming at it from a very innovation-driven angle and approaching the problem in a bottom-up, science-driven way, we think we are well positioned to compete in the marketplace," said Mantri. “If you look at many multi-national as well as Indian companies, the type of products they have is based on stuff invented a long time back. This field has not seen innovation in a long time."

By this year, Vyome will launch its first product, an over-the-counter one, in India. Mantri said it will develop and launch between six and eight products in three years. “We want to emerge as that start-up that will be able to launch research-driven products and have an impact globally."

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