Ashok Soota commits ₹200 crore for launch of SKAN medical research trust
Bengaluru: Serial entrepreneur Ashok Soota has committed ₹200 crore for the creation of SKAN, touted as India’s first not-for-profit entity in the private sector, exclusively for medical research.
Out of the total fund, ₹100 crore is earmarked for partners such as St John’s, Centre for Brain Research (CBR), IIT-Roorkee, NIMHANS, and other partners which may be added later. Another ₹100 crore is earmarked for investments in SKAN and direct projects within SKAN.
The research for the projects will be done both through reputed partners and directly in-house. The strategic partner for neurological research is the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at Indian Institute Science, Bangalore (IISc).
“It will take 10 years to build a world-class institution for ageing and neurological research. I am grateful to two eminent leaders who have agreed to take charge as chairpersons for the two divisions in case of an exigency to me, if line leadership is not ready to take charge. I have had this exigency-based arrangement in every organization I started, be it Mindtree or Happiest Minds,” Soota said.
According to SKAN, CBR is putting together a consortium to handle the first project on Parkinson’s disease. The strategic partner for Ageing is the upcoming St. John’s Geriatric Centre (SJGC), to be located at the St John’s Hospital campus. Soota has agreed to fund the setting up of the Centre for Research in Ageing and Geriatrics (CRAG) at the SJGC and to support joint projects.
For ageing, the approach will be to delve into relatively under-researched areas and will include the establishment of a large community-based research cohort. For neurological research, the plan is to go deep into select areas like Parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorders, strokes, and other cerebrovascular disorders, SKAN said.
“For problems related to ageing and neurological disorders, the philosophy of the research will include searching for kinder, gentler therapies; delaying the onset and slowing down the progression of the disease and providing persons a better quality of life even as they live with the illness,” SKAN said in a statement.