Investing in Innovation

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Investing in Innovation

[This article was published in the June 2010 issue of the eHEALTH Magazine (]

Trivitron Healthcare alliances with IIT Madras to set up India�s first industry-academia CoE in medical technology research

Trivitron Healthcare alliances with IIT Madras to set up India’s first industry-academia CoE in medical technology research

The global healthcare industry is growing at a rapid pace than ever before. One of the key components driving this progress is the advancement of medical technologies. Experts opine that medical technologies extend and improve life, and thus, they have become an inseparable part of the modern healthcare process. However, medical technologies have also resulted in higher cost for healthcare. The industry is not unaware about the situation, and as such, efforts are always there to create advanced healthcare technologies at lesser cost.

In the backdrop of this need based analysis, an innovation centre has recently been set up by Trivitron Healthcare in IIT Madras to conceptualise, design, and manufacture innovative and cost effective medical technology solutions for India and other emerging countries. Established in 1997, Trivitron Healthcare, one of the largest medical technology manufacturing companies in India, has initiated the process in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IIT Madras to set up and name it as ‘Trivitron Innovation Centre.’ This is going to be the country’s first industry-academia partnership in the USD 3.3 billion medical technology industry that includes manufacturing right from gloves to MRI scanners.

The backdrop

According to Trivitron, India imports more than 85% of its medical equipment requirements from abroad, while the domestic medical devices and equipment market is growing at 15% per annum. Surging population, lifestyle diseases and the recent access to better medical services are the prime factors contributing to increasing demand for diagnostic equipments, surgical devices, imaging and other devices and further to that the medical technology market is expected to boom due to the increased investments in health care in India. But due to the lack of medical innovation and coordinated efforts between medical & engineering institutes and medical technology manufacturers, equipments are getting costlier and adding to the soaring healthcare cost.

“The research and development in manufacturing the biomedical equipments needs the involvement and expertise from across the fields of engineering. For the newly opened ‘Trivitron Innovation Centre’ the project can see the participation of the best minds from all the departments of IIT Madras. We will work on innovating the best design along with the cutting edge technology for the biomedical equipments, for the people of India. I congratulate Trivitron for its confidence to come forward for this alliance,”

Prof R Krishna Kumar
Head, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras

“TIC will put India in the global map for innovation in biomedical research”

Dr G S K Velu
Managing Director
Trivitron Group of Companies

Broad vision behind setting up the ‘Trivitron Innovation Centre’ (TIC) at IIT Madras.

India has the capability of bringing out innovative medical devices and instruments with its own R&D initiatives if academia, industry and doctors work together. Hence the concept of Trivitron Innovation Centre was born and there is no better place to house it than IIT Madras which has one of the best talents available in the world for engineering design.

The investment plans for running and upgrading this centre.

Trivitron will be investing 15-20% of its profits in R&D initiatives. The centre will be adequately funded by Trivitron. In phase one around two – three crores is being invested for creating an Biomedical Engineering Design Lab within Department of Engineering Design. Trivitron will house six to eight exclusive scientists and over 10 doctors in the innovation centre to work on phase one and the same will be enhanced as the project progresses. The centre will invite and professors of all major departments of IIT Madras as advisors and leaders in the project and the students in the research.

Technologies and products that will be the thrust areas in the centre.

Imaging technologies, critical care instrumentation, laboratory instrumentation, renal care technologies and cardiac devices, as of now.

The future ahead.

This is the first of its kind of initiatives in India and we are hopeful that such initiatives will put India in the global map for innovation by bringing in cost effective biomedical devices, instruments and diagnostics products over the next three to five years time.

Therefore, the objective to create a center of excellence (CoE) was to focus on inventions in medical technology, invent new concepts, design unique products and obtain patents, with an access to brilliant scientists and academicians of IIT Madras. As per the effort goes, Trivitron also plans to take the opportunity of the designed and developed MT products in the CoE for their own business needs and becomes a design, manufacturing and development partner to its joint venture partners and other top medical technology players world wide, offering innovation in medical technology to the country and emerging markets globally. Exclusively funded by Trivitron, the newly set up centre, in phase one, will start designing and developing medical devices products in the area of critical care, renal care, lab diagnostics and imaging diagnostics.

Present into the industry of healthcare providers for over 13 years with a range of over 500 products for over 20 medical specialties, Trivitron has also set up South Asia’s first Medical Technology Park in Tamil Nadu, India.

On the other hand, IIT Madras, which has an impeccable record of producing some of the world’s best talents in the fields of engineering design with application in various fields of Technology, also has an infrastructure of advanced Bio Medical applications for Medical Technology Products. Now the new innovation centre can groom its students to conceptualise commercially viable medical devices and bring into the market through the already existing business modules of Trivitron’s engineering, manufacturing & support team. On the aliance, Dr M S Ananth, Director, IIT, Madras says, “Trivitron Innovation Centre project will draw resources from all the core departments of IIT through its professors and students. The joint initiative will also help students to get a deeper insight in to the Medical Technology market and make them better prepared to become an expert Design and R&D engineers.” Prof R Krishna Kumar, Head, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras will be the coordinator of the centre and will draw diverse talents and resources available within IIT.

In the project, Trivitron will be investing 15-20% of its profits in R&D initiatives of the project. “After the initial funding poured in by Trivitron, we might need to access the DBT (Department of Biotechnology) and DST (Depart of Science and Technology) funds for some specific basic research projects,” says  Dr G S K Velu, Managing Director, Trivitron Group of Companies. As per his say, in phase one around two to three crores is being invested to supplement and upgrade the existing infrastructure for creating a biomedical engineering design lab within the Department of Engineering. Initially, six to eight scientists in the innovation centre will be involved in the first phase of the project and the team will grow as and when the project progresses in demand. The centre will involve over 10 doctors and professors of all the major departments of IIT Madras as advisors in the project. IIT students will also participate in the Research Projects. “We are hopeful to see if this effort puts India in the global map for innovation by bringing in cost effective biomedical devices, instruments and diagnostics products over the next three to five years of time,” observes Dr Velu.

Trivitron is also planning to develop a comprehensive centre in its Trivitron Medical Technology Park at Sriperumbudur near Chennai for cross utilisation and expansion. In due course, Trivitron Innovation Centre at IIT Madras will be transformed into a common platform for the Indian medical device manufacturers as well as the global as an outsourced design and development centre.

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