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This Bengaluru Based Company Transforming Medtech Industry

Anish Bafna, CEO and MD, Healthium Medtech Ltd. elaborates the value of artificial intelligence in medical sector.

Anish-BafnaHealthium Medtech Limited is a global medtech company focused on products used in surgical, post-surgical and chronic care. The agenda of the company is to provide “Access to precision medtech for every patient, globally.” They operate across three key markets, India, UK and Rest of the World with four focusing areas: advanced surgery, wound care, urology and arthroscopy. During an interaction with Nitisha from BISinfotech;  Anish Bafna, CEO and MD, Healthium Medtech Ltd. elaborates the value of artificial intelligence in medical sector.

Kindly explain Healthium Medtech and its special offering.

Healthium Medtech Limited, is a global medtech company focused on products used in surgical, post-surgical and chronic care. Our vision is to deliver “Access to precision medtech for every patient, globally.”

As of fiscal 2021, some key aspects are:

  • We are the largest independent medical devices company and the 2nd largest company overall, in the surgical consumables space in India
  • The largest non-captive surgical needles manufacturer, in overall volume sales globally
  • Third largest company overall in the urology collection devices market in the U.K., by market share.
  • 1 in 5 surgeries conducted globally, uses a Healthium product as of 31st March, 2021.
  • We have extensive market access and export our range of products to over 80 countries and our sales network reaches 90% of all districts in India which have secondary healthcare facilities encompassing 40,000 surgeons across 18,000 hospitals across India as of 31st March, 2021.
  • Our comprehensive and Innovative product portfolio across 4 focus areas: Advanced Surgery, Wound care, Urology and Arthroscopy encompasses 52000 SKUs across different products.
  • As of July 31, 2021, we have 64 patents in the US, Europe and India including pending applications pending post CareNow acquisition.
  • With eight integrated, scaled manufacturing facilities, we have a strong focus on quality, and several of our facilities have different global accreditations and registrations, including with US FDA, C.E, TGA and ISO.
  • In particular, we were the first Indian Class III medical device company to receive US FDA registration for one of our manufacturing facilities.
  • Further, we are the only company in India with a CE-certified surgical needles manufacturing facility as of March 31, 2021.
  • Our manufacturing facilities employ technology that we have largely developed in-house to ensure high quality and to allow for extensive customization of our products to meet our customers’ diverse needs.

Over a period of time, we have executed a number of acquisitions and have demonstrated that we can successfully integrate and grow the acquired businesses. The acquisition of Quality Needles, CliniSupplies, VitalCare, AbGel and CareNow has enabled us to add a slew of products to our portfolio and further deepen our customer relationships.

Kindly elaborate the value of technology and AI in the healthcare sector?

The pandemic has proved to be a real game changer, which has made the healthcare industry embrace technology like never before. Digital outreach and delivery through data analytics, artificial intelligence, telemedicine and e-pharmacy have come to stay. Online and video consultations, tele-assessment and e-medicine came into play during the lockdowns and continue to hold strong as social distancing and self-quarantine have forced patients to switch from visiting clinics to consulting doctors online.

From a medtech perspective, we have created several new products that bring technology, infection control and design patents to the fore.

Our recent launch TRUSHIELD NXT brings in patented DTAC technology that combines a 3D hydro cellular substrate and patented infection prevention technology to offer 360-degree wound protection. Its patented technology continuously inhibits pathogen growth with a unique non-leaching, non-depleting kill mechanism. It has patents in the U.S, Europe and India.

With management of nosocomial infections and Hospital acquired infections becoming an important agenda for providers during the pandemic, we have added a range of anti-microbial and infection prevention products that include sanitizers, anti-bacterial gloves, bath wipes, surface disinfectant sprays and wipes and disposable garments for caregivers.

Similarly, we were the first medical technology company in India to use a laser drilling process in needle manufacturing, which enables us to produce smaller needles with precise dimensions and consistent quality.

Undoubtedly, the adoption of technology and innovation in healthcare over the years has led to better diagnosis and treatment of patients. We will continue to advocate and launch newer technologies to improve health and patient safety. The industry is at a critical threshold with a huge scope for growth, which can further be accelerated by leveraging new-age technology and integrating it with efficient and highly skilled manpower.

What are the gaps the medical industry is facing in adoption of medical devices? Share your thoughts.

The medical devices industry is an integral part of the healthcare ecosystem and has been recognized for its role in managing the pandemic by creating scale and affordable solutions within a short period. However, the industry is highly import-dependent and high quality and affordable medical devices for patients, remain a gap.

According to Frost & Sullivan Report, surgical procedures in India are highly underpenetrated at ~2,000 surgeries per 100,000 people, compared to other emerging market peers at 4,500 surgeries per 100,000 people. Frost & Sullivan estimates the surgical procedures to grow at a CAGR of 9.83% (2021-2025) and reach 27.23 million procedures by 2025.

The success of medical devices as an industry, is dependent on several factors:

  1. High quality standards of products play a vital role in surgical outcomes
  2. Manufacturing capabilities given diverse set of regulations in various regions
  3. Cost effectiveness due to global focus on rationalizing cost of, and expanding access to, healthcare
  4. Sales force which engages extensively with healthcare professionals to promote various products in their portfolio
  5. Strong distribution channel across geographies effectively reaching out to a fragmented buyer universe
  6. Intellectual property and new product development engine

Healthium continues to invest in R&D as we aim to make products that address the needs of patients and healthcare professionals by creating products made to stringent global safety and quality standards also available in India at our 8 manufacturing facilities.

Our product development initiatives are focused on meeting the requirements of our customers by identifying their needs and addressing the gaps in the market. We have also entered into multiple partnerships with academia and surgeons, start-up organizations and advisory boards of speciality organizations/clinics in India to generate feedback and address the gaps in the market. Today we hold 64 patents including pending applications as of 31st July, 2021 in US, Europe and India including CareNow patents.

How the year 2020-2021 in terms of business and what will be your future plans for the year 2022?

Healthium has made efforts towards the 4As of healthcare: ‘Availability, Accessibility, Affordability and Acceptability. We have created wider access with our sales teams covering 90% of all the districts with secondary healthcare facilities, and the sales force covering over 40,000 surgeons across 18,000 hospitals, as of March 31, 2021. We have created several patented products for bettering patient care. We believe we have a significant opportunity in our markets and focus areas given our differentiated value proposition of providing high-quality, innovative products at a compelling value. Our business strategy is aimed at exploiting this opportunity by

  1. Deepening our geographical presence and market access to expand our customer base
  2. Expanding our product portfolio to deepen our customer relationships with focus on R&D, product portfolio expansion in our focus areas and selectively entering adjacent areas
  3. Focusing on operational excellence through manufacturing capabilities with robust quality and global certifications to continue to deliver superior value to our customers

Tell us about your latest launch and agenda.

Our agenda is to create products that raise benchmarks in patient care and comfort as we continue to roll out new products and innovations at a fast pace at manufacturing facilities that are subjected to rigorous quality control checks and periodic inspections from various regulatory agencies across the world.

Entry into wound care with patented technology

Healthium recently entered the wound care segment by launching TRUSHIELDTM NXT a comprehensive wound care system with patented infection prevention technology. TRUSHIELD NXT brings in patented DTAC technology that combines a 3D hydro cellular substrate and patented infection prevention technology to offer 360-degree wound protection. Its patented technology continuously inhibits pathogen growth with a unique non-leaching, non-depleting kill mechanism. It has patents in the U.S, Europe and India.

Dominated by traditional wound dressing such as cotton gauze, the Advanced wound dressing category has lagged in penetration because of high pricing of products and limited availability. TRUSHIELD™ NXT is non- adherent (does not stick to the wound and can be easily removed) and water proof with exudate management ability when compared to traditional wound dressing and reduces the need to repeatedly change dressings, thereby reducing costs.

Fast paced launch of new products

Our new products have included several patented products and 1st

  • Trutie Ligating clips with an innovative, patent-pending design that provides a secure grip in surgeries.
  • We launched the First barbed sutures in India with a triangular stopper which helps in faster wound closure.
  • Our patented sutures are created for use in surgical interventions during post-partum haemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal mortality in India.
  • Our Anti-microbial and infection prevention range includes Trushield gloves, surface disinfectant wipes, bath wipes and hand sanitizers
Creating a world class arthroscopy portfolio from scratch

Arthroscopy is one of the fastest-growing orthopaedic procedures in India, accounting for 15-17% of the overall procedures as per Frost & Sullivan.  The volume of arthroscopy procedures conducted, is likely to triple in the next 5-6 years. Healthium has invested in creating innovative and differentiated products from scratch to 300+ SKUs for knee and shoulder procedures, backed by 50+ patents applied and granted in the US and India. The company has built this differentiated portfolio by investing in building expertise in multiple areas (e.g. bioabsorbable materials) to create innovative products. Healthium is growing its arthroscopy portfolio steadily by covering a growing footprint of arthroscopy surgeons using their products.

Launch of new manufacturing facility to keep pace with fast-growing arthroscopy category

In keeping with the growing demand, Healthium also announced the launch of its latest CDSCO approved manufacturing facility at Ahmedabad in December that has been licenced to exclusively manufacture its wide range of Arthroscopy products marketed under the brand Sironix, including patented products in India and US. The implants and equipment help in treating soft tissue problems especially in the shoulders and knees including meniscal repairs, ACL reconstruction, ligament reconstruction and repair.

Creating manufacturing excellence through global accreditations

Healthium Medtech currently operates across eight integrated and scaled manufacturing facilities, several of which have global accreditations and registrations including US FDA, CE, CDSCO, TGA and ISO. The accreditation of our manufacturing facilities reiterates our focus on patient safety and is an essential requirement for our products to be used in the treatment of patients globally.

We will continue to create high-quality precision-based products, made in India through integrated scaled manufacturing, adding to our 4 focus areas, advanced surgery, wound care, urology and arthroscopy.

What lessons have you learnt from the pandemic? How did you face the challenges including during pandemic and what preparation have you done for such situations?

Answer. The healthcare industry has been at the forefront of the battle against COVID, dealing with intense work pressure with a large number of caregivers experiencing fatigue and burnout. For stakeholders in the healthcare industry, technology has been a game-changer. The pandemic has spawned numerous changes including the growth of digital outreach and delivery through data analytics, telemedicine, video consultations, e-pharmacy and tele-assessment. But despite the challenges, the industry has been tenaciously moving forward collectively, especially the medtech and diagnostics sectors. The medical devices industry has been looking for ways to step up and support healthcare providers and patients.

[The Healthium team too has also been working hard in this direction. We have ramped up production of essential medical devices and kept our manufacturing facilities open with due permissions and precautions, despite the lockdowns to ensure un-interrupted supply to hospitals in the first wave. We had fast tracked production schedules to enable critical deliveries within 24-48 hours. In the brutal second wave, apart from ramping up production for medical equipment, we also had to prioritise supporting our teams, our industry, and the community around us in every possible way, be it managing their physical and mental well-being, aiding financial help or emotional support. Managing the post COVID scenario for us was a testing ground on resilience, agility and empathy.]

The healthcare sector will need to continue on preparedness by expanding the healthcare infrastructure, creating a robust supply chain and work synergistically with policymakers, regulatory bodies and providers .


Nitisha Dubey

I am a Journalist with a post graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. I love reading non-fiction books, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisines. Biographies and historical movies are few favourites.

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