STEERLife, creator of cutting edge, proprietary continuous processing technology, and Manipal University today announced a partnership to establish a Centre of Excellence dedicated to helping the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry transition from conventional batch processing to continuous processing thereby providing time and cost efficiencies, reducing wastage and delivering greener process. The Centre, located at the Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MCOPS) campus, will combine industrial expertise, academic prowess coupled with collaborative in-depth research to develop solutions in highly diversified areas of life sciences that can effectively help the industry battle problems related to regulatory burden, reject rates, time and cost inefficiencies as well as limitations of working with sensitive and valuable materials.

“Under the terms of the partnership STEERLife will provide proprietary co-rotating twin screw technology platform and equipment, sponsor a doctoral research program and impart the requisite training. The Centre will also engage students pursuing their Masters, Doctoral and Postdoctoral studies on research based projects and mentor them in specific areas. As part of this engagement, the identified students will spend time at STEERLife’s Pharmaceutical Development Center in Bengaluru for hands-on industrial experience,” said Mr. Indu Bhushan, Chief Technical Officer, STEERLife.
The initiative comes at a time when regulatory agencies across the globe are increasingly driving the adoption of continuous processing for its numerous advantages related to flexibility, efficiency and the environment. With the Manipal Centre of Excellence being the first of its kind in India, STEERLife, as a part of it’s continuing commitment and efforts to realise its vision of changing the way medicines and nutritional products are made and taken, is also partnering with academic institutions of repute in the US.

Speaking of the partnership, Dr. Babu Padmanabhan, Managing Director and Chief Knowledge Officer, STEERLife and Founder & Promoter, STEER Group, said, “We are honoured to be associated with an institution of the stature of Manipal University. The Centre of Excellence provides a platform for the industry and academia to work together on developing innovative solutions that could transform millions of lives. Our proprietary continuous processing technology helps control shear, remove stagnation and effectively transform characteristics of bio-based and synthesised materials making pharmaceutical products, food, and nutritional products safer and more effective. The technology when coupled with some of the most intelligent minds from Manipal University, can truly help India deliver solutions that are world class and life changing”.

The Centre of Excellence will expose students and researchers to cutting edge technology capable of processing materials of the future without the limitations present in today’s solutions.

Dr. H. Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor, Manipal University, said, “Manipal Institutions have long been distinguished for excellence in education. We strive to provide our students with world-class facilities and real-time experiences that can help develop them into global leaders. The Centre of Excellence is one such initiative — where for the first time engineering and pharmaceutical sciences are coming together to give our students access to cutting-edge technology and expertise that has the potential to revolutionise life sciences. We are delighted to partner with STEERLife in making this a reality.”

The STEERLife Manipal Centre of Excellence is likely to commence operations on January 1st, 2017.

Fortis’ SL Raheja Hospital launches ‘The Vocalizer’ for Patients in the ICU

Fortis’ SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim recently unveiled the ‘The Vocalizer’ for patients, an application that helps connect with the patients in the ICU when they can barely talk and move. The brainchild of OncoSurgeon Dr P. Jagannath, this app developed at Fortis’ SL Raheja Hospital itself, will now enable patients in the ICU to communicate with their caregivers and family members far more effectively.

Many patients have an Endotracheal Tube hampering their ability to communicate even though they are conscious. The ‘Vocalizer’ also aids many patients who’ve undergone surgery, who cannot communicate appropriately post-op. Before this advancement in medical communication spectra, caregivers in the hospitals traditionally used generic pre-written notes that helped the patient to communicate but at times those weren’t sufficient since special needs had to be catered to; there was an urgent need to bride this communication gap.

Dr. P Jagganath, Oncosurgeon at SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, explained how the app works, “Many patients in the ICU have an endotracheal tube that takes away their ability to speak even though they are conscious. In several cases, we see patients are not able to speak after surgery. The app offers visuals with voiceovers for as many as 60 possible situations in the ICU. This is an effort to enable better communication between the patients and their families as well as the staff in the ICU.”

Dr Sanjith Saseedharan, Head of ICU, Fortis S L Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, who worked alongside Dr P Jagganath to create the app, said “The Vocalizer is a major breakthrough for us, showcasing exemplary usage of technology that can help better healthcare services across the country – this is the start of medical advancement in communication. We are happy to have taken a progressive step towards facilitating better communication between the ICU patients and their caregivers & loved ones.”

With this development, anxious relatives can also stay connected with the patient. The Vocalizer is also available for free download on both iOS and Android, and has been developed by Tata Interactive Systems supported by Crusade Against Cancer Foundation.

Six Month Clinical Trial Data Shows First Thin Strut Fully Dissolvable Stent in the World, Developed in India, to be Safe

Six Month Clinical Trial Data Shows First Thin Strut Fully Dissolvable Stent in the World, Developed in India, to be Safe

Findings of the six month clinical trial on the first thin strut fully dissolvable stent in the world, developed in India, were unveiled at the prestigious main arena, Late Breaking Clinical Trials/First Report Investigations at the Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2016, Washington DC, on Monday, October 31, at 12:30 pm EST. The TCT is the biggest and best regarded meeting of interventional cardiologists in the world. This was a proud moment for India, as the data was presented by the eminent interventional cardiologist Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, who was the principal investigator of the study.

The study titled MeRes-1 is the first-in-man study of the novel thin-strut PLLA-based sirolimus-eluting bioresorbable vascular stent (MeRes100). It considered Six-Month Clinical, Angiographic, Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), and Optical coherence tomography (OCT) results in patients with Coronary Artery Disease.


Presenting the findings of the study, Dr. Ashok Seth, MBBS, FRCP,  DSc, Chairman of the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Chairman of the Cardiology Council, Fortis Group of Hospitals in New Delhi, India, said, “This is a big day for India and the ‘Make in India’ program.  It also reveals to the world that our Indian device industry has the ability to be innovative, creative and support high quality research. The innovative design of the MeRes100 scaffold developed in India addresses some of the limitations of currently available Bio Resorbable Stents (dissolvable stents) and may have higher success and lower complication rates in the long term.  It would also cost much lesser than the currently available dissolvable stents and therefore give more benefit to higher number of patients.  The MeRes-1, first-in-man study demonstrates that this new generation thinner strut sirolimus eluting BRS is both safe and effective at six months. These encouraging results provide the basis for further studies using wider range of length and sizes in more complex and larger patient population.”

The MeRes100 is a low profile 100µm thin strut PLLA based BRS with a unique hybrid design featuring open cells at the center and closed cells at the edges resulting in improved track-ability and access to side branches. It also has enhanced visibility with three circumferential radio opaque markers at each end.

In this prospective, multicenter, single arm trial of MeRes100 BRS, a total of 108 patients (116 lesions) were enrolled at 16 Indian sites from May 2015 to April 2016. The primary end-point was Major Adverse Cardiac Events (MACE), a composite of cardiac death, myocardial infarction, Ischaemia Driven Target Lesion Revascularization (ID-TLR), and Ischaemia Driven Target Vessel Revascularization (ID-TVR) at six months. The secondary end-point was scaffold thrombosis at six months.  The study found no MACE or stent thrombosis (ST) after the deployment of the scaffold up to six month follow-up. Quantitative Coronary Analysis (QCA) data at six months demonstrated very favorable in scaffold late lumen loss of 0.15±0.26mm. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and Optical coherence tomography (OCT) analysis showed no scaffold recoil and near complete strut coverage (99.3%) with neointima.

The TCT is the annual scientific symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) featuring a number of first report investigations on novel stents that could become the next generation of bioresorbable stents in patients.

“Bioresorbable stents (dissolvable stents) have the potential to be greatly impactful in the treatment of coronary artery disease, and it is exciting to see these first report investigations of several new and novel stents advancing the technology forward,” said Ajay Kirtane, MD, SM, and a Co-Director of TCT. He is also Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “These results give us the first insights into their safety and efficacy, but larger randomized trials are necessary in order to establish their role in clinical practice.”

Southern region more prone to Gout: An SRL Study

SRL Diagnostics, a leading diagnostic chain in India, released a 3-year data analysis report on Arthritis related tests done on samples received in its labs from across India. According to the report, the 10,000 odd samples tested showed varying degrees of abnormalities in the blood levels of direct and indirect markers of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and rheumatic fever. The results varied across four zones of India as well. WhileWestern zone of India showed more abnormalities in the levels of rheumatoid factor- a marker of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Uric acid abnormalities were more common in South zone. Uric acid is a commonly prescribed marker of gout.Data analysed also showed that the East Zone had highest percent of abnormal anti-streptolysin O level- a marker of rheumatic fever and joint disease.

The analysis also found that markers of chronic inflammation-a bodily event that goes on continuously in any chronic joint disease, ESR and CRP were raised in most of the samples than any other marker. This is probably due to the fact that Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis affecting the population at large.

Furthermore, data showed that abnormal C-Reactive protein (CRP) values were more commonly found in men, while abnormal Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) values were seen more commonly in women.

Dr. Leena Chatterjee, Director Operations SRL Labs & Strategic Initiatives, said, “Bone and joint health are crucial aspects, which are usually ignored by the population at large. Millions in Indiasuffer from bone and joint disorders , but doctor visits for management or laboratory visits for regular check-up and testing remain low. Medical studies have shown that 15-17 per cent of Indian population suffer from some kind of joint disease with Osteoarthritis being on the top. Actually bone and joint disorder is more common than cardiovascular disease and cancer combined. Our 3 year data analysis tries to reiterate this point and also shows that blood based tests can help screen large number of people for common joint diseases

The right approach

The right approach

International heads of hospitals explain the strategy they opted for: source, geography or cluster approach

Healthcare groups have adopted varied approaches to tap the burgeoning medical tourism market. The groups have opted for geographic approach, cluster approach or source approach or a melange of all. We spoke to various international marketing heads to understand the rationale behind the approach they adopted:

Benny Charles Daniel
Head, International Business
Manipal Health Enterprises

The approach that most growing hospitals in India adopt are geography based approach, whereby the individuals in team are lined up to select geographies to market and generate sales. This, in concept, does offer a better hold in the market, but the shortfall in this approach is the ability of individuals to handle multiple partners who require multiple deliverables to build on the relationships
The next approach that is being tested is individuals aligned to certain hospitals of the group and will be responsible to bring in sales for those units. Though this gives a better accountability, there will be a lot of duplication and competition among the group and this limits the scope of promoting the brand as an entity. This is called the cluster approach
There are a select hospitals that follow what I call as a source approach. This will be an approach where individual team members are aligned to a particular source or stream of revenue, thus helping us focus on specific deliverable for each source and to maximise sales and conversions. While each approach has its own merits and demerits, hospitals are trying their way that matches their business goals
We discontinued the cluster approach. Duplication was a key reason in efforts to adopt to the source approach. There are several verticals in MVT like government, institutional, direct, partner based and office driven. The main reason to adopt this approach is that each vertical demands a set of expectation and deliverables from the hospital and having a person slightly helps us address this better. In addition, when a person is aligned to a vertical their thought process also goes in terms of streamlining the system, developing sales models to enter similar systems, evolving service delivery to meet their vertical expectations- all these in my opinion are the base for a sustainable and scalable business model
This approach helps us build sustainable and scalable business model in each vertical. Having a person focus on a vertical also helps us outweigh the latest developments in the industry on that particular vertical. In addition, this helps team members develop into account managers handling viable business portfolios. The negatives are that the sale generation will happen over a sustained period and won’t be immediate

Gokul Prem Kumar
General Manager – International Marketing
Continental Hospitals

At Continental, we follow a mix of cluster and source approach. Cluster is bigger than source approach. The advantage of cluster approach is having better hold on the market, as we engage the primary clinician through the person handling the market. It also ensures better brand building exercise for long-term-sustainability. The disadvantage emerges when the person handling a cluster moves out- there is a large amount of potential risk of losing business. Source approach is basically for local facilitators and direct patients.
For cluster, we have people assigned for East and West Africa, Middle East and SAARC. At the same time, we have in-house staff who handles facilitators and direct patients. But the bucket of cluster is bigger than source. Around 60% of our business comes from Africa, 25% from SAARC and 15% from the Middle East.
After identifying the potential markets, we have deployed people with experience in those markets. We have been acquiring talent from the industry and have been continuously engaging with key opinion leaders and primary clinicians from these markets as we adopt cluster approach.
As Continental is part of Parkway Pantai group, we are trying to build on brand image of Singapore and Gleneagles legacy and credibility in SAARC countries, where the traction is very high.

Karthik Rajagopal
CEO, Aster Hospitals, GCC region
Head, MVT, Aster DM Healthcare

It is a combination of all the three since all of them are not mutually exclusive. However, the broad international geography is divided under two zonal heads: one handles the Middle East and South Asia and the other handles Africa. Under each of these, zonal heads are personnel who have the specific responsibility for handling a country or a combination of them. Each team lead under the zonal heads handling all the segments including the government, corporates and insurance, referral clinicians, facilitators and rest of the channels.
The biggest advantage of the hybrid approach that we follow is the coverage and the continuity that we get across the geographies that we operate in. MVT is typically a relationship business and, therefore, it is important we have someone stationed locally in order to ensure that they are touching distance and always available to the stakeholders including the patients. Also, each market has its own nuances and somebody stationed locally is able to understand those nuances and then develop the strategy.
The biggest risk factor would be the movement of personnel to competition, post having developed a market. It is similar to competition buying out clinician practices. Since this is a relationship-led vertical, the business to a large extent tends to follow the individual. While we talk of brand experiences, some side of the MVT business is still vulnerable to personnel movement.
Aster traditionally gets a large base from the GCC funneling into its flagship facility in Kochi- Aster Medcity. However, it is pretty early days as yet for Aster in the MVT vertical since we are just seeing both scale and supply of quaternary beds emerge in India. Now with the launch of the Aster CMI Hospital in Bengaluru and the makeover of the Aster Prime Hospital in Hyderabad, we should see more patient inflows.

Renu Vij
Associate Vice President- International Business
Global Hospitals Group

We follow the geographic approach and have done region-wise territory distribution. We have territory or country managers who are supposed to get into the markets for business development. We have mainly divided the whole globe into three parts: Asia, Africa and ROW. Asia is further divided into Middle East, CIS, SAARC and SE Asia and Africa into West and North, East and Central and South Africa. ROW is the rest of the world and digital marketing.
Selling is not about what we want to sell, it’s about the need of the buyer. So, the pros of geographic approach is the deeper penetration into the market that enables you to understand specific needs of that country and you can customise the strategies, accordingly. Since our business is all relationship and trust driven, geographic approach helps you strengthen relationship with all the overseas partners.
The more people know you and your brand, the better becomes its presence. Treatment outcomes and services, of course, play an important role. If that remains constant, there is definite increase by stronger engagement in a particular geography. It helps you master knowledge about a country, know the culture, people, behaviour, tastes and expectations.
Pros are more than the cons but the biggest one is unpredictability. Terrorism, bomb blasts, wars, government change, policy change, economic crises like in the GCC countries where they are going through oil crises. Nigeria is going economic crises, so it has affected the inflow of patients. So, depending on any one particular market or country is very risky.

Vikas Tyer
Sr General Manager
International Business
HealthCare Global

We have adopted a mix of cluster and source approach. Our approach is guided by factors such as the location of a hospital in India, flight connectivity to that location and historical preferences for that geography. Hospital business will also depend on the geographical approach, although there are few geographies which feed all most of the geographies in India.
For cluster approach, at HCG, we have divided globe into five verticals at HCG East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, MINA and Asia- which is further divided as per the geography wise requirement. Each region at HCG has a regional head
or a zonal head, followed with a team under him.
Building a team on the ground helps in deeper penetration of your brand and helps in building your corporate, insurance and MOH business. This also helps in HCG reaching interiors of the countries and meet key opinion leaders, which matter a lot in those geographies. At HCG, we also explore new markets as well as develop them to a sustainable level where team can be built.

The Game Changers – The top 10 MVT facilitators that leading hospitals opt for

The Game Changers – The top 10 MVT facilitators that leading hospitals opt for

Several healthcare organisations largely depend on local MVT facilitators to get a steady stream of international patients. Around 60% of MVT patients in India get routed through facilitators, point out market analysts. We present you a list of top 10 MVT facilitator companies, based on recommendations from hospitals.

Company started in: The company was started as High Beam Global in the year 2010. It was changed to HBG Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd. in 2011.
Founded by: Abhik Moitra and Nandita Gupta.

Geographies it taps: It assists patients from 14 countries: Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ghana, Iraq, Oman, UAE, Yemen, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh.

Indian cities it sends patients to: New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad.

USP of the company: Says Abhik Moitra, COO, HBG, “HBG’s USP is our operation team with language experts who are trained to ensure that we bring smile on the face of each and every patient.”

Holding medical camps/CMEs in foreign locales? Often, it organises medical camps, CME programmes, community talks and networking dinner programmes in almost all countries where it operates.

Revenue sharing model with clients: “We get our consulting fee from the hospitals. Similarly, we pay consulting fee to our distribution chain,” says Moitra.

Mode of payment: “We deal only through bank accounts and follow each and every rule of the land,” says Moitra.

Thoughts about MVT segment in India: Says Moitra, “Business from countries like Nigeria, which were larger contributors to India’s medical tourism industry, have plunged due to the low oil prices and currency depreciation. Other nations such as Kenya, which are politically and economically stable, have growing in the stature. We foresee new markets such as Namibia, Angola, Eastern European countries becoming a new source of patients for India very soon.”

SPAG acquires Giga Health

SPAG, a specialized Public Relations, Public Affairs and Digital Marketing consultancy, today announced the acquisition of Giga Health, a healthcare focused digital marketing and social media agency. The brand will continue to operate as Giga Health under the aegis of the SPAG group.
The move will help SPAG build on expertise, further expand the service offerings and strengthen its presence in the fast evolving pharmaceutical, med-tech and healthcare sector.

With this collaboration, S.P.A.G. is aiming for a big qualitative and quantitative leap in the digital marketing space, a portfolio that is managed by its digital marketing arm, D Yellow Elephant. Aman Gupta, Managing Partner, SPAG, created D Yellow Elephant in early 2015 as a full-service, specialized digital marketing firm focusing on pharmaceutical and life sciences industry. It offers specialized marketing communications services by integrating technology, medical sciences and communications.

Tata Trusts & GE Healthcare partner to skill 10,000 youth for jobs in the healthcare sector

Tata Trusts and GE Healthcare today announced a partnership to train 10,000 youth in various technical areas of healthcare over a three-year period. The partnership will focus on bridging the skills gap in healthcare technical or operating staff. The announcement was made in the presence of Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Trusts, Terri Bresenham, President & CEO, Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, GE Healthcare and Banmali Agrawala, President and CEO, GE South Asia.

GE Healthcare Education Institute (GE HCI) will design, develop and execute these courses through a mix of both classroom training and interactive training exercises. The courses will help people graduate as X-ray, Radiography, Medical equipment, Anesthesia, Operation Theatre and Cardiac Care technicians, as well as Diabetic Education counsellors. The candidates will also undergo continuous assessment and internships during the course of this program. The successful candidates, upon clearing the Healthcare Sector Skills Council (HSSC) exam shall be granted a certification from HSSC.

In the next three years, 10,000 candidates will receive loan scholarships from Tata Trusts upon qualifying for the course. GE will also fund certain candidates on the basis of their eligibility.

It is estimated that the current requirement for allied healthcare professionals (AHP) in India is nearly 6.5 million as against a supply of less than 300,000. As per National Skill Development Corporation, by 2018 the healthcare technician demand-supply gap in India will be 445,000 (84% shortfall).

Speaking on the occasion, R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts said, “At Tata Trusts, making a sustainable difference to lives is the core essence of philanthropy. Tata Trusts aim to drive improvement in healthcare delivery by enabling availability of skilled and motivated healthcare personnel. We believe that this partnership with GE Healthcare will allow many bright young minds, especially women, to come forward and bridge this gap.”

Temasek invests $250M in Columbia Pacific’s China operations

Columbia Pacific Management, one of the largest and fastest-growing healthcare providers in Asia, is partnering with Temasek, an investment company based in Singapore, on a joint venture that will provide China’s growing middle-class population with affordable, patient-centered care across a spectrum of healthcare and senior services.

Temasek is investing about $250 million USD in Columbia China, the China healthcare arm of Seattle’s Columbia Pacific Management, which will result in a 50/50 joint venture with Columbia Pacific. Columbia China currently has a 220-bed orthopedic hospital, two multi-specialty clinics and three senior living facilities in Shanghai and Beijing. The company is also developing three multi-specialty hospitals of 300-500 beds, in Wuxi, Jiaxing and Changzhou, as well as a 300-bed senior living facility in Ningbo and a growing pipeline of other projects across China.

The partnership with Temasek will enable Columbia China to further expand in China through acquisitions and greenfield projects.

“We’ve already built a strong team in China that has quickly expanded since we first entered the China market five years ago,” said Bee Lan Tan, Group CEO of Columbia China. “With such valued support from Temasek, we look forward to continuing to accelerate our growth.”

Oyster and Pearl Hospitals – Blending safety and advanced techniques in healthcare

onpOyster and Pearl Hospital, Pune

With an exuberance in the overall healthcare diligence, Oyster and Pearl (ONP) Hospital is one of the best and leading hospital providing 24-hour medical access in the city of Pune. With a legacy of 59 years in healthcare, our team of doctors, nurses and support staff are geared to serve people with exemplary standards. The hospital offers world class health care services to the patients. Reputed for its clinical excellence, ethical practices and patient centricity, the hospital is among the reliable service provider of the city. With a flagship of health care, at Oyster and Pearl you experience the highest quality standards of medical treatment, and we care for you, like we would for our own!We have a state-of-art infra-structure along with the latest technological advancements and improvements that are all attainable for patients. Furnished with a total number of 22 specialties all under a single platform, Oyster and Pearl Hospital promises to deliver health services for patients all around. Excelling at various fields, there are several specialized medical specialties at ONP where people can avail comprehensive care and facility.

We offer sophisticated diagnostic care in essentially every specialty of medicine. Our hospital is one of the top most hospitals that perform about 6500 major surgical procedures in a year. Apart from this, ONP is armed with:

  • 6 independent Units
  • 360 beds
  • 100 + Specialist doctors
  • 30 Adult medical + surgical ICU beds

Persistently pushing our prospects to excellence, we are relentlessly pursuing solutions to provide better patient care by improving our overall facilities of hospital management and at the same time ensuring control on cost to the patient. The work of our team has always been directed by the needs of patients that are conveyed by our best medical expertise and advanced procedures.

ONP General Hospital at Shivaji Nagar, Pune desires to extent its commitment to excellence to serve the patients not only in Pune but also across the globe. We, at ONP have a different approach towards medical tourism. We actually serve the patients while they are in the hospital for the surgery / treatment. Our team of clinical coordinators and patient care managers meet the patient daily. They coordinate with our international patients with our hospital crew to ensure smooth and seamless care of our patients for our patients and their attendants.

Our six units are :-

ONP General Hospital

Multispecialty Hospital
Ganeshkhind Road,
Shivaji Nagar, Pune
ONP Tulip Hospital

Woman & Child Hospital

Off SB road,
Gokhale nagar,
ONP Meera Hospital

Woman & Child Hospital
Shankar Seth Road,

ONP Rainbow Polyclinic

Rainbow plaza building,

Above Mc. Donalds

2nd floor, Shop no 203

Jagtap Dairy,

Shivar Chowk


ONP Rainbow Hospital

Rose Icon,

Sn.72.BRT Road,

Pimpale Saudagar


ONP Nulife Hospital

Village Khandkale

Off Mumbai-Pune Highway

Kamshet, lonavala

(Starting from February 2017)


Central Appointment Desk : +91-9373813040

Land line  : 020 67216600 / 67216699