Updated on 4 September 2012
India at the moment ranks 46 in the innovation index rating. "We need both political and scientific commitment to excel in this sector," added Dr Ella during his presentation. Then he talked about innovation that is happening at Bharat Biotech and how the vaccine giant has been able to bring down the cost of hepatitis B vaccine from Rs800-to-Rs10 per dose. He also highlighted that in India, academia has never developed a new molecule and even the industry has not yet launched a new molecule in India.
He said, "Our system is ready to invest Rs5,000 crore budget to National disaster management authority to treat the patients who are suffering from Japanese Encephalitis but not to prevent it." He then mentioned that Bharat Biotech has developed a new molecule BBIL-5 which has been developed in house and should cost Rs3,000, where as the similar molecule from the west costs Rs30,000. The molecule is supposed to hit the market in two months and is supposed to be the first new molecule from India.
Next presentation was Mr T K Padmanabha, CTO, Wipro. It was interesting for everyone in the room to know that a company which has strong history in the IT industry is also investing in healthcare domain. He mentioned that there are four areas where Wipro is concentrating, including hyper spectral imaging, remote computing platform, remote EHS monitoring and wireless safety network. He began with highlighting the healthcare needs in India. For instance there are about 25 million people suffering from CVD, 40 million from asthma and 50 million from diabetes. Hence, it has become important to address these in India.
One of the products for remote care fromo Wipro is mHealth Architecture. It involves a device to moitor ECG but the device is as small and portable as a mobile phone. Another platform is to address chronic illness in the field of Next Gen Cardiac Monitoring. Mr Padmanabha mentioned that it took six engineers, four months to come up a solution for this disease and the entire project didn't cost more than Rs50 Lakhs.
Wipro is also coming up with solution in the area of next generation pregnancy monitoring where the company has partnered with a UK-based start-up that has made a handheld device to monitor fetus and mother during pregnancy and at the time of labour. The device can measure the heartbeat of the child as well as note the uterine contraction rate. This enabled with the cloud can be used in remote areas where gynaecologists might not be available but they can get the data of the woman in labour and child on his tablet or mobile and recommend accordingly.
The last presentation at the session was by Dr Rangesh Parmesh from Himalaya, who highlighted the purpose and importance of Ayurveda. After giving a comprehensive introduction about Ayurveda, he showcased certain Himalaya's products which are making an impact in the healthcare segment.
During the questions and answers at the end, each panellists highlighted a challenge in this sector. While Dr Ella mentioned that the regulatory system needs to be robust, Mr padmanabha said that the semiconductor technology can play a major role in healthcare when it comes to innovation and so there is a need to mass scale the products based out of these semiconductor chips to provide cost effective healthcare. Dr Rangesh mentioned that there is a need for quality education in the country. Dr Bali concluded the session by saying that "the baseline is that innovation is needed and that innovation need not be expensive. The products need to be made in India, for India and for the emerging world."