Sridhar Vembu, founder of one of India’s most successful startup Zoho, has announced that he has invested about $10 million in vTitan, a medical device startup based out of Chennai, reported Times of India.
Besides being the main investor Zoho has also developed the user interface and software component for the medical devices of vTitan. Additionally, Zoho is also working with vTitan to develop IoT, AI and machine learning enabled prototypes in the coming months.
Founded in 2010 by Periyakulam Kasthuri, vTitan was working along with Zoho in stealth mode for last eight years. The startup offers medical devices, the first being their patented Accuflow SP-550 and Accuflow IBP-550 syringe infusion pumps for critical care medication administration. The pumps are powered by indigenously developed and patented closed-loop motion control technology.
The Accuflow SP-550 which works on electricity is priced at Rs 35,000 while the Accuflow IBP-550 includes an integrated battery pack for portability and is priced at Rs 45,000. “This is a dream that I saw over 10 years back. It is a blessing for us to fund a startup and entrepreneur who is working towards making this dream come true,” said Sridhar Vembu to TOI.
The startup has employed a closed-loop motion control technology in these pumps for which it owns the technology patent in seven countries including North America, China, UK and India. The Company also expects to receive a CE certification for the devices by March. A CE mark on a product indicates that it complies health, safety and environmental protection standards necessary for sale within the European Economic Area.
The start-up has completed trials at Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Malar, Sri Ramachandra and Cancer Institute.
India’s Current Medical Device Industry Scenario
Indian medical device industry is dominated by global giants and despite unfavourable domestic regulations, local Indian startups promise to make lifesaving medical technology more accessible in a country where quality and affordable healthcare is scarce, especially in any place that’s not a major city.
India’s medical devices industry is growing at about 15 per cent annually and is expected to reach at least $25-30 billion (Rs 1.65-1.98 lakh crore) by 2025, according to a report in March by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited startups to focus on research for innovative medical devices and use technology to make healthcare more affordable.
“India should manufacture its own medical devices to bring down the cost. Recently, the government reduced cost of stents by 85 per cent,” said Modi while addressing oncologists at Tata Memorial Hospital.
To recall, in March 2017, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has moved a cabinet note and suggestion that the maximum age for classifying a biotechnology or a medical devices firm as a startup be raised to 8-10 years from the current 5 years [Read Here].
In an address to mark 75 years of cancer treatment by Tata Memorial Hospital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said plenty of things pointing to startups working in medical devices, healthcare and health-tech but he seems to be either unaware of the fact that there exists many such medical device startups and health-tech startups in India that are innovative and working towards bringing down the cost of healthcare, or may be PM Modi wants to start everything afresh for startups working in health technology segment.
In medical device startups segment, Bangalore-based PathShodh has made a device that can perform 8 health tests on single platform and for this the startup has been shortlisted by National Health Systems Resources Centre (NHSRC) as a very important and useful device.
An another Bangalore based medical device startup called Museinc has built a ‘Smart Stethoscope’ to make Stethoscopes a common household device. Ten3T is also one such medical wearable device startup trying to help patients with real-time cardiac monitoring.