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BUSINESS | News Briefs

Create Jobs in America, Get a Green Card! | It's 'Destination India' for Top Global Schools | Multi-billion Opportunity | Nano Draws Biotech Giant | MIT Dreams | Stem Cell Bank | U.S. Seeks Reforms | Drug for Diabetes

Create Jobs in America, Get a Green Card!

Backed by over 160 venture capitalists, including several Indian Americans, two U.S. senators have introduced a bill to give fast track visas to immigrant entrepreneurs in return for creating jobs to increase America's global competitiveness.

The StartUp Visa Act of 2010 will allow an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two year visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to dedicate a significant sum - a minimum of $250,000 - to the immigrant's startup venture.

“Global competition for talent and investment grows more intense daily and the United States must step up or be left behind,” said Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who introduced the bill with Richard Lugar, top Republican on the panel.

“Our country should strive to attract to the United States the most talented and highly skilled entrepreneurs,” said Lugar.

Among the Indian American entrepreneurs, many of them from California's Silicon Valley, who have endorsed the senators' proposal are, Sameer Gandhi of Accel, Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures, Deepak Kamra of Canaan Partners, Ravi Belani of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Karan Mehanderu of Scale Venture Partners and Ajay Chopra of Trinity Ventures.

The StartUp Visa Act of 2010 would amend immigration law to create a new EB-6 category for immigrant entrepreneurs, drawing from existing visas under the EB-5 category, which permits foreign nationals who invest at least $1 million into the U.S., and thereby create ten jobs, to obtain a green card.

After proving that he or she has secured initial investment capital and if, after two years, the immigrant entrepreneur can show that he or she has generated at least five full-time jobs in the United States, attracted $1 million in additional investment capital or achieved $1 million in revenue, then he or she would receive permanent legal resident status.


It's 'Destination India' for Top Global Schools

In September, Georgia Institute of Technology will begin work on its research centre in Hyderabad. This  university is just the latest in a series of such initiatives top names in the world of education. In February, the Punjab government collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University to set up a Punjab International University near Ludhiana in a 35-acre complex. The initial proposal would have five schools in the university

Harvard Business School decided to have a classroom of its own in the country for its executive education programs. Yale University agreed to develop an India-Yale Leadership Program in areas like curriculum development, faculty development and academic planning.

The federal Ministry of Human Resource Development is said to be firming up a plan before a memorandum of understanding is signed between it and Yale later this year, when the latter’s president, Richard C Levin, visits.

As the government readies itself to introduce the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations, Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialization) Bill, which will permit the entry of foreign institutions in the education sector, around 140 Indian institutions and 156 foreign education providers are engaged in academic collaborations for India.

Of these 156 foreign providers, 90 have university status and 20 have college status. Other institutions are training institutions or those for further education. The total number of collaborations was 225 and with each collaboration having over one program delivery, the total number collaboratively delivered stands at 635.

Georgia Tech’s initiative in India is in the start-up phase, where two centers of excellence will be established at Hyderabad, in collaboration with Indian industry and university partners.

“These not-for-profit centers are in the areas of energy and information technology. Faculty and students from Georgia Tech and industry and academic partners from India are expected to work closely on research projects that are of value to India,” said Vijay Madisetti, executive director, Georgia Tech India Initiative.


Multi-billion Opportunity

Indian Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee’s overtures to the private sector has given GE India a reason to smile. The company’s president and CEO John Flannery said that the company saw a lot of opportunities in railways and will put in a bid to manufacture diesel locomotives.

Flannery was in Chennai to collect the IACC-Sanmar Indo-U.S. business co-operation award. The award, instituted by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and the Sanmar Group was given to General Electric this year.

Talking to reporters, Flannery said the company saw opportunities in sectors such as defense, aerospace and railways, among others. The company’s plans for the railway sector in India received a shot in the arm through the Railway Budget, which called for participation from private enterprises in areas such as development of new lines, port connectivity and multi-layer parking facilities.

“Last year, we had participated in a tender process for manufacture of diesel locomotives. It was a multi- billion dollar contract. It did not go through,” Flannery said. However, he added that the same project was cleared by the cabinet last week, so GE India was keen to participate again.

Earlier, during the award function, Flannery underlined the need to enhance the company’s manufacturing footprint in India. “We really need to do that to be more competitive here in the long term. We need more investments in local supplies and in our own manufacturing capabilities that can bring some cost benefits in growing our position and help the country in large investment and job creation,” he said.


Nano Draws Biotech Giant

Alexandria Real Estate, the $5.2 billion U.S.-based company which provides solutions to life science industry, has decided to set up a sprawling biotech research and development and incubation facility next to the Tata Motors’ Nano project in Sanand, Gujarat.

A senior official said, "Alexandria has applied for 25 acres of land and intends to spend up to Rs 500 crore for the project."

"The company’s presence will attract large number of investors in the biotech and health sector to Gujarat, especially in the vicinity of Nano. With Alexandria starting to implement its project, it is possible to develop a complete biotech park in the area," said a senior state government official.

Another proposal from Biocon, a fully integrated healthcare company that delivers biopharmaceutical solutions, is pending clearance from the government. Also, an Indian company has tied up with France’s Biolice in order to produce degradable bioplastic and is looking for land near Ahmedabad.

Alexandria has a global presence and puts up all the necessary equipment for R&D in biotech, including fermenters, centrifuges, autoclaves and costly NMR research equipment in its facility. Its clientele includes universities and independent not-for-profit institutions government agencies.

"After putting up the facility, it will go in for marketing its space. It will surely attract top biotech players," the official said. "Alexandria has agreed to put up its facility on the condition of zero discharge of effluents This is particularly important, as the area near Nano does not have any effluent disposal pipelines.


MIT Dreams

ADA Group company Reliance Venture Asset Management, which already has two investments in American start-ups, has tied up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an exclusive sponsor for their entrepreneurship development program.

MIT has been conducting the $100K entrepreneurship competition for its students for the last 20 years. Students and researchers participate with their business ideas and the winner takes home $100,000 as seed money for the venture. In the past, the competition has resulted in quite a few successful start-ups coming into the spotlight. According to the MIT, more than $15 billion in market value and 2,500 jobs have been created because of the competition till date. RVAM is the first Indian VC fund to be associated with the event.

The move is being seen as a concerted effort by ADAG to tap into the best of minds and futuristic technologies that MIT has on offer. Harshal Shah, CEO of RVAM, said this was a “very strategic association” for the fund, which invests at various stages and across geographies, both from the point of thought leadership as well as for exploiting investment opportunities. The event will give RVAM, the exclusive India partner, a chance to connect with the best of the minds in the industry and, if possible, find some exciting investment opportunities which will deliver good returns in the future.

RVAM also plans to help U.S. entrepreneurs use India as their innovation base. “We’re hoping to encourage U.S.-based entrepreneurs to explore and exploit opportunities in India. India is a huge potential market for innovative products and services, especially when it comes to reaching out to the last man and customizing these for target demographics. In being associated with this competition we expect to create value first for the entrepreneur, the market and consequently ourselves,” Shah says.


Stem Cell Bank

U.S.-based StemCyte Inc,  has announced the opening of its first umbilical cord blood stem cell banking facility in India at the Apollo Hospital in Gandhinagar.

It will be the first cord blood bank facility in Gujarat which would be used for both public and family donor purposes, a statement aid.

This stem cell bank is a tri-partite venture between StemCyte India Therapeutics, Apollo and Indravadan Modi-led Cadilla Pharma, it added.

"The company plans to build an inventory of 25,000 ethnically diverse units here, to help treat critically ill patients in India and abroad, and we will also facilitate stem cell transplantation through Apollo," StemCyte Therapeutics president Tushar Dalal said.

Diseases like cancer (leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma), blood disorders (thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, Fanconi anemia) and auto immune deficiency have successfully been treated using UCB stem cells.

"With 20 years of human safety, umbilical cord blood stem cells are emerging as a prime source of stem cells in the field of regenerative medicine, which repairs injured tissues, nerves and organs," StemCyte Inc. CEO Ken Giacin said in a statement.


U.S. Seeks Reforms

Calling India a "rising global power,” Washington has asked New Delhi to undertake new reforms and raise the cap on foreign equity in Indian defense firms to give more opportunities to U.S. companies interested in defense sales in India.

"India is a rising global power, soon to be the world's most populous country, with a trillion dollar-plus economy," Robert O. Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, told the Washington International Business Council.

"The Indian economy has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world since 2003, averaging 8 to 9 percent growth in recent years," Blake said. "If India can sustain its economic reforms, it has the potential to sustain close to double digit growth rates for many years to come.”

"Reforms to date have made Indian companies leaders in areas such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and now increasingly, in manufacturing as well as in clean energy," he said.

Blake also hoped that "the Indian government will seize the opportunity to undertake new reforms that will both attract new investment and propel higher growth.

"We are also urging the Indian government to raise the cap on foreign equity in Indian defense firms from 26 percent to 49 percent to provide more opportunities for U.S. companies interested in defense sales in India."

The US had "some important recent sales with the C-17s, C-130Js, and the P8 maritime patrol aircraft,” Blake said. "But there are significant new sales on the horizon, up to $18 billion worth of contracts, for which American companies are competing.”


Drug for Diabetes

Biotech giant Biocon has entered into a strategic tie-up with U.S.-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals to jointly produce a peptide hybrid molecule for treating diabetes.

As part of the tie-up, the two firms will collaborate to develop the therapeutic compound and share the development costs, Biocon said in a statement.

The research will centre on Amylin's "phybrid" technology that combines two peptide hormones into a single molecule entity.

Biocon will utilize its expertise in recombinant microbial expression to produce the compound and leverage its experience in pre-clinical and clinical development of diabetes products.

According to Biocon chairman and managing director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the agreement leverages the synergistic capabilities of the two companies.

"Amylin's knowledge of peptide therapeutics and its leadership in the diabetes market, paired with our capabilities in process development, manufacturing and clinical development, provides ample scope to bring a novel therapy to diabetics," Shaw said in the statement.

Amylin chief executive Daniel M. Bradbury said the tie-up would lead to cutting-edge peptide science to provide relief diabetic patients.

Based in San Diego, California, the 22-year-old Amylin is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs for treating diabetes, obesity and other diseases.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

Be Counted!
U.S. Census 2010

It is imperative that all members of the Indian community participate in the forthcoming 2010 U.S. Census, writes Inder Singh.

Picking the Pieces: After the Pune Attacks
The recent terror strike in brought a rude reminder of the role of indigenous terror groups and in orchestrating militant strikes in India, writes Siddharth Srivastava.

Making Your Case:
U.S. Visitor's Visa

To avoid the frustration of being denied a visitor’s visa to the United States, an applicant needs to be honest and prepare meticulous documentation, writes attorney Mahesh Bajoria.

EDITORIAL: Be Counted!
U.S. Census

NEWS DIARY: February
REMEMBRANCE: Remembering Ekushey
SPORTS: Battleground Cricket
RECIPE: Hot and Sour Soup
REAL ESTATE: Strategic Default
SUBCONTINENT: The Kidnapping Menace
TRAVEL: Deutsches Museum
AUTO REVIEW: 2010 Ford Fusion SEL
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: My Name is Khan
TAMIL FILM: Theeratha Vilaiyattu Pillai
BUSINESS: News in Brief
COMMUNITY: News Briefs

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