Hospital chain Fortis Healthcare has tied up with International Oncology, a US-based company formed by a group of Indian doctors working overseas. As per the tie-up, a team of about 12 doctors from International Oncology has started offering cancer care treatment, including radiation therapy, medical oncology, surgical oncology and bone marrow transplant at Fortis’ Noida hospital. Other doctors from the UK and other countries are expected to join the hospital soon. Based on the experience and outcome of the partnership, the two companies may expand their collaboration to other hospitals of Fortis. International Oncology is also looking to set up independent hospitals in India, particularly at tourist destinations such as Jaipur and Delhi to attract foreigners. Funded by a group of individual investors, the company plans to invest around $50 million in India over the next five years. Says Fortis Healthcare Director (Medical Operations) Rajen Ghadiok, “Oncology is a niche disease area in which Fortis wants to provide comprehensive treatment. Instead of setting up a superspecialty hospital for cancer treatment, which would have taken a long time, we decided to tie up with International Oncology.” There is a huge unmet need for cancer treatment in India. As per industry estimates, there are about 3 million cancer patients in the country and is one of the fasting growing class of diseases along with lifestyle related diseases. While the American company will offer its doctors and equipment to Fortis, it can use the multi-specialty services and nationwide presence of Fortis hospitals to expand its presence. International Oncology, CEO Pradeep Jaisingh said, “There is a gap between the standards of cancer treatment in India and western countries. As standalone cancer hospitals need support and expertise in other specialties, joining hands with Fortis was a strategic fit.” Fortis also plans to set up cancer screening and diagnostics facilities to detect cancer at nascent stage. Mr Jaisingh added that it will conduct the whole spectrum of clinical trials in India and also develop new cancer drugs through collaboration with global pharma majors. “Several pharma companies have shown interest. We are in final stages of putting up our research team and hope to finalise a drug development collaboration soon, “Mr Jaisingh said.