Eli Lilly to expand India ops

US drug major Eli Lilly & Co has decided to expand its business in India beyond R&D initiatives. The $15.7-billion company is looking to reinforce its position in the Indian drug market with plans to expedite the launch of new drugs in line with their US commercialisation.

For starters, Eli Lilly plans to launch at least 5-6 new revolutionary drugs in India in the short term. These would be in areas like diabetes, oncology, critical care and women’s healthcare. The company may also expand contract manufacturing out of India. It expects such strategic initiatives will more than double its Indian turnover of $40 million in five years.

Eli Lilly will cut down on the lead time for new drug launches in India. The company’s latest anti-diabetes drug ‘exenatide’ was launched in India last week after nearly two years of its launch in the US.

Fortis plans USD 498.48 million investment and 40 hospitals by 2011

The Delhi-based INR 512 cr (USD 128m) company had already established a toehold in the western and southern parts of the country.

Fortis Healthcare Ltd, an INR 512 cr company plans to invest US$500 million (INR 1,970 cr) to achieve its target of 40 hospitals by 2010-11, focusing on improving its presence in the West and South to get a pan-India presence.

They will fund half of the money from internal resources, including proceeds from an initial public offering of shares, as well as debt. But they haven’t ruled out a second public offer or infusion of additional funds through private equity.

The Delhi-based company had already established a toehold in the West and South�it acquired Hiranandani’s hospital project in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, for about INR 25 crore and Chennai-based Mallar hospital for a similar sum.

The second largest hospital chain in the country, behind Apollo Healthcare Enterprises Ltd, Fortis has a network of 13 hospitals with 2,200 beds.

Private hospitals generated $15.51 billion in revenues in 2006 and are expected to generate USD 36 billion by 2012, according to a study by Ernst&Young and industry body FICCI.

Quovadx Acquires Healthvision

Quovadx(R) has announced the acquisition of Healthvision(R), a Health Information Exchange (HIE) industry leader with proven solutions that connect the healthcare communities of hospitals, labs, physicians, patients and consumers.

Quovadx and Healthvision have collaborated for many years to deliver an integrated solution with Cloverleaf(R) serving as the critical component of Healthvision’s ehealth interoperability platform. This close association also allows the smooth transition.

The new, expanded company will host 11 million patient records and serve over 2,000 hospitals, 250 extended healthcare communities, 23,000 clinicians, thousands of patients, and millions of consumers. The company will retain its focus of providing healthcare software and solutions through Cloverleaf Integration Services and Healthvision’s Clinical and Consumer solutions.

Cryobanks plans INR 500 cr (US$ 125m) investment

Cryobanks International India(CII), a JV between Cryobanks International Inc of US, and RJ Corp of India, is planning to invest INR 500 crore in the health care industry in the country over the next five years.

The stem cell banking company is looking at investing INR 150 cr in the first phase to set up cord-blood stem-cell banks. Around 10 to 15 such banks will come up, of which some would be overseas. It aimed to start stem cell therapy units in the country as well.

Stem cells collected from cord blood can be used for treating more than 75 serious ailments. Given the potential of therapeutic uses, the company was looking for partner institutions, both private and public, to develop stem cell therapy units, besides setting up banks.

At present the country’s only stem-cell bank is in Gurgaon with the facility to preserve around 150,000 units. Delhi will soon to have a cord blood transplant (CBT) unit as well with facilities for R&D.

India has over 25 million births every year, and therefore the market in the country for collecting cord blood cells is huge. The company expects turnover to rise from Rs 8 crore last year to Rs 300 crore in the next five years.

Bharat Biotech sets its sight on EU, US market

As pharma biggies like Ranbaxy and Dr Reddy’s Lab announce plans to tap the regulated biotech drug market, mid-sized players in the segment also seem to harbour such ambitions.

Hyderabad-based mid-sized biotech firm Bharat Biotech International is finalising plans to roll out drugs in Europe and US. Initially, the company will initiate European trials on three products which will be soon filed to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) for regulatory approval. It is also in talks with a couple of US pharma companies to enter into a technology and marketing partnership.

As far as US plans go, Bharat Biotech will enter into a tie-up with a US bio-pharma company for joint drug development and marketing.

Bharat Biotech exports its products to Kenya, Zambia, Peru, Bolivia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Kenya, Vietnam, Malaysia and Columbia. This apart, it has seven products in Phase II trials in areas like Japanese encephalitis, malaria vaccine, rotavirus vaccine and anti-infective. Future projects are in areas like combination vaccines, bio-antibiotics, combination probiotics and chikungunya vaccine.

GE Healthcare acquires Dynamic Imaging

The recent acquisition of Dynamic Imaging, announced recently, will result in GE Healthcare’s expansion of its information technology products and services across all segments of healthcare.

Dynamic Imaging, based in Allendale, New Jersy, provides Web-based image and information management with its IntegradWeb suite of products.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition builds on GE Healthcare’s strategy to combine early diagnosis with information technology to enable a new “early health” model of care focused on earlier diagnosis, pre-symptomatic disease detection and disease prevention.

Microsoft’s HealthVault: software and services platform for health information

Microsoft Corp. recently launched Microsoft HealthVault, a software and services platform aimed at helping people better manage their health information. It aims to bring the health and technology industries together to create new applications, services and connected devices that help people manage and monitor their personal health information.

Microsoft also announced the availability of HealthVault Search, a powerful new vertical health search tool designed to work with the platform. Integrated with Live Search and accessible on the HealthVault Web site, this specialized health search engine intuitively organizes the most relevant online health content, allowing people to refine searches faster and with more accuracy, and eventually connect them with HealthVault-compatible solutions.

Created in cooperation with privacy advocates, security experts and dozens of the world’s leading healthcare organizations, it is designed and built to enhance privacy while providing people with the control they expect and require. It assures that the consumer’s personal health information will not be data-mined, because they alone control it. A broad range of more than 40 applications and devices will be available on the HealthVault platform soon.

Ranbaxy to make China a major sourcing hub

Pharmaceuticals major Ranbaxy Laboratories plans to make China its major sourcing hub for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API).

The company, already has a Chinese presence through a joint venture named Ranbaxy Guangzhou China Limited (RGCL), will explore new partnership options to facilitate raw material outsourcing.

RGCL will continue to focus on manufacturing medicines for exclusive supplies to the Chinese market. China’s low-cost raw material manufacturing ability is an opportunity for reducing manufacturing expenses for pharmaceutical companies.

Ranbaxy plans to create a lot of value by leveraging on the strength of its newly acquired biotech company, Zenotech Laboratories. Zenotech has two biotechnology-based cancer offerings in India and eight more are being developed. Its medicines are expected to be cleared for shipping to Europe by 2011.

Sources say that the company is also expecting to expand its bio-similar drugs (low cost biotechnology medicines) business in a big way, and may also enter speciality areas, such as oncology where there is less competition.

Private Equity investments in pharma touch $400 m

Private Equity (PE) investments in the domestic healthcare and pharma industry have touched around $400 million during the first nine months of the year. This trend is set to accelerate as companies go for overseas acquisitions, hive off their R&D units, and Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCB) lose their sheen.

The PE investments include Apax Partners’ $104 million fund infusion in Apollo Hospitals, IFC’s $67 million in Max Healthcare, Trinity Capital’s $31.4 million in Fortis Healthcare, ChrysCapital’s $24 million in Mankind Pharma and Kotak’s $10 million in Intas Biopharmaceuticals.

Within the pharma sector, the companies which are into formulation and have strong R&D are likely to get the preference.

Wockhardt buys Morton Grove for $38 mn

Indian drug maker Wockhardt recently acquired US-based speciality drugs company

Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, which has annual sales of $52 million. Though officially it has not been confirmed, Wockhardt has reportedly paid nearly $38 million for the Illinois-based company.
This ends a long wait for the Mumbai-based drug maker, which had been scouting for acquisition in the US market for over two years, and also brings it closer to its Indian rival Cipla, which had signed a supply agreement with Morton Grove in 2004.

e4e offers software for health insurance sector

e4e (headquartered in the US) plans to launch an ‘on-demand’ software solution targeted at small overseas commercial health insurance plans covering less than hundred thousand individuals. e4e,is a services-on-tap company that allows deployment, management and ope-ration of business process across the enterprise.

The company aims to develop a software based on the ‘per member per month’ payment model. Since competitors like IBM, Accenture and Perot Systems have moved to higher plans, concentrating on insurance schemes with over hundred thousand members, e4e feels that the mid market segment, currently neglected, needs such solutions.

The solution will allow patients to choose health insurance plans, help hospitals uate and manage insurance claims without any manual intervention and follow up on payments. The project will be pilot-tested in about 6 months, after which e4e will uate it for commercial adoption.

It has also been pointed out that the company had about 5 per cent market share in the $120 million (INR 480 cr approx.) healthcare payer space. The company aims to have about 10 clients next year and 25 by 2009 for its new solution. To achieve this, e4e may complete an acquisition by the third quarter of next year.

The company on its path of expansion is also planning to double its workforce, in the healthcare services division to 2,000 by next year. It is also seeking to set up a centre in a tier-II city in Tamil Nadu. e4e is currently working with a large Indian hospital to develop a healthcare solution for the domestic market. This is the company’s first endeavour to enter the Indian market.


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