September 2008

Business News

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Growing Pharma, Biotech help Indian equipment market grow

Growth in the pharmaceuticals industry that has been witnessing rampant outsourcing of clinical trials and drug discovery research to the country has influenced strong growth in the Indian laboratory analytical instruments market. Adding to this has been the increasing emphasis on environmental conservation as well as the growth in the biotechnology sector.

Riding on this wave, the Indian market for laboratory analytical instruments is expected to register double-digit growth rates compared to the modest 3-4 % growth rate in other countries.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Indian Laboratory Analytical Instruments markets, finds that the market earned revenues of over 7.89 billion rupees in 2007 and estimates this to reach 18.07 billion rupees in 2011.

Support from the government and huge investments have helped accelerate the pace of development and mitigate potential bottlenecks, enabling the country to become the hub of biotechnology R&D activity. Also witnessed is a growing emphasis on preservation of the ecosystem through total environmental conservation. Laboratory analytical instruments being critical in these sectors, their growth is expected to remain unscathed in the future. The Indian laboratory analytical instruments market is highly price sensitive. End users such as the government, research institutes, and the pharma industry are very focused on their needs, procuring only the best of equipment with all features enabled at a highly competitive price. There is a distinct movement toward the procurement of value-enhanced products, but a reluctance to pay a higher price for such devices is also evident.

To remain competitive in the market, foreign suppliers are forced to shed a portion of their margins to enable them maintain prices at acceptable levels. Efforts are being directed toward inspiring sales through brand equity image. The best way forward for foreign suppliers is to either set up joint ventures with local manufacturers or go the whole hog and establish their own manfuacturing facilities in India.

SaskTel and Alcatel-Lucent launch remote monitoring

France-based Alcatel-Lucent and SaskTel have launched LifeStat Remote Monitoring and Health Management, a service that records and transmits daily blood glucose and blood pressure readings, automatically creating confidential, easy-to-use reports that can be viewed online by the client, their caregivers and the client's healthcare professionals.

The ongoing development and support of the LifeStat platform and applications will be managed by SaskTel and Alcatel-Lucent through their Salveo project, which is based in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Salveo project is funded by the two parties with the primary objective of becoming a world leader in health and wellness telemonitoring software applications.

“LifeStat is a tremendous success story for SaskTel, Alcatel-Lucent and the Province of Saskatchewan,” said Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Crown Corporations for the Province of Saskatchewan. “Not only will LifeStat result in healthier people globally, it has created 20 new technical and professional positions in this province.”

“The LifeStat technology may hold the key to a new paradigm of diabetes and chronic illness management in primary care. We are looking forward to using this technology to introduce standard clinical diabetes management in the patient's home with the help of the Home and Community Care team and the patient's family physician,” said Dr Sheldon Tobe, Sunnybrook Hospital Ontario.

SaskTel will market and sell the LifeStat service directly to consumers and healthcare providers in Canada, while Alcatel-Lucent will market and actively sell the Salveo platform to its global customers outside of Canada under the name Alcatel-Lucent Health and Wellness Application.

Future LifeStat applications will include monitoring and reporting for chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma.

IFC to invest INR 55 crore in Rockland hospitals

World Bank group member International Finance Corporation has said it will invest INR 55 crore (USD 14 million) in Delhi-based Rockland Hospitals to support its expansion plans.

Rockland Hospitals plans to expand its facility in the national capital and set up a 250-bed hospital in Manesar, Haryana. “IFC will provide 10 million dollars through equity investments and another 4 million dollars in convertible preferred shares to Rockland Hospital,” IFC said in a statement. The project will help broaden access to high-quality health care and good administrative and patient care to common people, it added.

“This project demonstrates IFC's commitment to social sector development. It also aligns with our strategy to invest in health care, one of India's largest service industries where the private sector's involvement is most critical,” IFC Director for Health and Education Guy Ellena said in a statement. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investments. 

TAKE Solutions' Pharma suite has four new Indian clients

TAKE Solutions announced recently that its worldwide business in regulatory document management and electronic submissions software arena is making quick inroads in the Indian market. The addition of new clients to TAKE Solutions' globally renowned PharmaReady suite, makes the product very well entrenched in the Indian market. Amongst others, key customers in India are Ajanta Pharma, Alembic Ltd., Alkem, Dabur, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Marksans Pharma and Serum Institute. With eSubmissions becoming mandatory in many of the countries in the West, more and more Pharma companies in India are realising the need to update their processes and procedures to the eSubmissions platform.

With a 100% implementation and submissions success rate, customers in 12 countries are putting PharmaReady to constant use across 4 continents, with an install base of several thousand satisfied users. The PharmaReady suite of software distinguishes itself from the marketplace by being relevant to a wide range of global life sciences customers and prospects. This includes branded and generic bio-pharmaceutical companies in various stages of their research and application process as they seek approval from global regulatory agencies. Unlike many of its competitors, TAKE Solutions has near shore support centers located in Chennai, India for the Asia Pacific customer base that makes it very convenient for users located in this part of the world. TAKE's offices in North America serve as the support centres for the North American and European customer base.

Perot Systems to support health insurance program

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Health Insurance Connector Authority, also known as Health Connector, and Perot Systems, a provider of IT services, has announced that the company will provide IT and business process services to support the state's innovative program to assist low-income Massachusetts residents in choosing the appropriate plan of coverage for each individual's healthcare needs. 

The Health Connector's Commonwealth Care program has been deployed to ease the financial burden of health insurance costs, and provide benefit coverage options to residents of Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Perot Systems' expertise in the healthcare industry combined with its ability to provide technology will improve operational efficiencies and drive down the administrative costs of the program. By providing service and technology support, Perot Systems will help the Commonwealth Care program to achieve the landmark goal of providing healthcare coverage for many of its uninsured residents.

The timeframe for the agreement is for three years, and some of the responsibilities will be shared with both Vecna and the Public Consulting Group.

ICICI Venture eyes stake in KIMS

An ICICI Venture associate fund and a Singapore-based private equity (PE) player are in talks to invest INR 300 crore in Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS). The hospital will use the fund for Indian and overseas expansion. KIMS CMD M Sahadulla said, “We have been talking to several PE players to fund our expansion plans.  We have now zeroed in on two funds

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