CSIR-IICB is engaged in research on diseases and certain biological problems of global interest. CSIR-IICB is one of the major institutes in India which initiated, right from its inception, multidisciplinary concerted efforts for conducting basic research on infectious diseases, specifically leishmaniasis and cholera, along with the development of technologies for the diagnosis, immunoprophylaxis and chemotherapy of the diseases. The institute has offered substantial attention in developing drug from indigenous and natural resources like native Indian plants.

In order to strengthen the basic research and to attain translational objectives, a second campus was constructed at the Salt Lake, Kolkata. The unit is named CSIR-IICB Translational Research Unit of Excellence (TRUE) whose overall mandate is to develop state-of-the-art fundamental innovation and further translate the indigenous innovations into affordable technology. The unit is conceived as a productive platform for successful industry-institute liaison for technology facilitation and transfer. At the nascent stage of the TRUE unit, CSIR-IICB has planned to adopt a three way program (facilitation, incubation and translation) for meaningful transfer of research output into successful technology and subsequent contribution towards economic growth.