Shares of Syed Kamal-founded dialysis provider rise 20% on first day of trading

Apr 21, 2016 0

BEVERLY, MA–Shares of Syed Kamal-founded dialysis provider American Renal Associates Holdings Inc. soared by more than 20 percent on the first day of trading Thursday morning, Boston Business Journal reported.

Company shares rose to $26.83 as of Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The firm now has a market cap of $796 million.

Syed Kamal

Syed Kamal

Kamal is president and co-founder American Renal Associates. In addition, he has served as the director of the company since its inception in 1999. He has more than 36 years of experience in the dialysis services industry.

Prior to founding American Renal Associates, Kamal served in various management roles at FMCNA, including as President of FMCNA’s southern business unit, Vice President of Operations for FMCNA’s North America division, Director and Vice President of Operations for FMNCA’s International division and Regional Manager of FMNCA’s Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions (U.S.).

He  holds a B.A. degree in Economics and Statistics and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Punjab in Pakistan.

Unlike other dialysis providers, which wholly operate clinics, American Renal seeks to partner with established physicians to own and operate dialysis treatment centers, providing treatment to patients with the most advanced stage of chronic kidney disease, known as end stage renal disease, according to Boston Business Journal.

The company said it plans to use proceeds from the IPO to pay back $239 million in debt, as well as for working capital and to help fund development of new clinics, expansion of existing clinics or acquisition of other clinics.

Boston Business Journal said that the top shareholders of American Renal are private investment firm Centerbridge Partners (59.3%); American Renal CEO and co-founder Joseph Carlucci (2.5%); and company president and co-founder Syed Kamal (2.5%).

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Conglomerate to invest $200 million in Indian healthcare

Apr 18, 2016 0

Kochi–UAE-based healthcare conglomerate VPS Healthcare on Monday announced it will enter India by acquiring majority stake in Lakeshore Hospital here to set global benchmarks in healthcare delivery.

Lakeshore Hospital here will now be known as VPS Lakeshore.

Shamsheer Vayalil

Shamsheer Vayalil

VPS Healthcare has set aside Rs.1,000 crore, or about $200 million, for its expansion plans in India.

Announcing this, VPS Healthcare managing director Shamsheer Vayalil said the acquisition is part of the ambitious expansion plans VPS has chalked out for the subcontinent in the next five years.

“With the acquisition, VPS Lakeshore has become a part of our global healthcare mission and the new Rs 300 crore block would be open soon,” said Vayalil.

VPS is the largest private internationally accredited hospital network in the UAE.

In a span of less than a decade, with a combined business turnover of around $1 billion, VPS Healthcare has created a portfolio of 16 hospitals and network of over 100 medical centres in addition to ventures in pharmaceutical manufacturing and retail.

Lakeshore Hospital is a super specialty hospital and leader in health tourism.

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Ratan Tata inaugurates 351-bed hospital in Mathura

Feb 28, 2016 0

Mathura– Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata here on Sunday inaugurated a 351-bed hospital that aims to provide better medical services to the western part of Uttar Pradesh.

Nayati hospital will have several advance techniques including high end CT, MRI, Linear accelerator, for radiation treatment, advanced Cath labs and blood banks, among others.

According to the hospital authorities, Nayati healthcare aims to transform the medical facilities in other tier-II cities apart from Mathura.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

“The new hospital inaugurated today at Mathura will provide much needed medical help and health care facilities for the people of the region. It is heartening to see a full- fledged speciality hospital being established in Mathura with a considerable personal sacrifice, driven by passion and a genuine desire to serve the community,” said Ratan Tata on the occasion.

Among several departments, the hospital specialises in includes Oncology, Orthopedics, Neurosciences, Pulmonology, Gastrosciences and Nephrology.

“Our aim has been to reduce the physical, emotional and economic burden of illness that blights the life of ordinary people in Tier-II and Tier-III towns by taking the treatment to the patient,” said Niira Radia, chairperson of Nayati Healthcare.

She further said: “We understand that illness of an individual can profoundly impact the psychological and financial wellbeing of the entire family. We, at Nayati, have felt deeply the need to bring advanced technology and clinical expertise together, both of which we have chosen with utmost care.”

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Ocular Therapeutix Marches Ahead After FDA Meet

Feb 24, 2016 0

BEDFORD, MA– Ocular Therapeutix, founded by Amar Sawhney, is now one of only two Massachusetts biotech firms trading up this year, according to media reports.

“Ocular Therapeutix is on track to become one of just two local biotech firms whose value hasn’t fallen since the start of the year this morning, after its stock shot up more than 50 percent on good news from the FDA on its planned drug trial,” Boston Business Journal reported.

Amar Sawhney

Amar Sawhney

The Bedford-based company (Nasdaq: OCUL) announced that the Food and Drug Administration has given its blessing for a late-stage trial that will compare the company’s insert for sustained-release of travoprost (a drug now used to lower eye pressure) to treat eye disease to a placebo rather than another drug called timolol, Boston Business Journal said.

“That means it’s more likely the company’s drug, called OTX-TP, will show statistically-significant improvement. With two Phase 3 trials of OTX-TP, versus placebo now set to begin in late summer or early fall, investors appear confident it will show it works better than a placebo in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension,” reported Boston Business Journal.

“We are pleased with the outcome of our recent meeting with the FDA to discuss the Phase 3 clinical development plan for OTX-TP. We believe that a direct comparison of OTX-TP with a placebo comparator reflects the simplest and most real world appropriate clinical study design for this product,” said Sawhney, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Ocular Therapeutix. “This meeting was an important milestone for advancing this program into the next stage of its development. We expect to initiate the first of two planned Phase 3 clinical trials in the third quarter of 2016 after holding an End of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA and finalizing the protocol for the trials.”

Robert Noecker, Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Medicine, stated, “Compliance remains a major issue with all current glaucoma eye drop therapies. Sustained release drug candidates such as OTX-TP address this issue directly, and have the potential to put the control back into the hands of the physician by removing the burden on the patient to administer eye drops every single day. In clinical trials to date, OTX-TP has shown a clinically meaningful IOP lowering effect and has not caused hyperemia, or eye redness, a common side effect of topical glaucoma therapies. It offers a preservative-free formulation that appears to be benign to the ocular surface, which can be adversely affected by preservatives used in eye drops for chronic glaucoma therapy. OTX-TP is a product candidate that may offer an important advancement in the treatment of glaucoma.”

Glaucoma and ocular hypertension are chronic, sight-threatening diseases in which elevated levels of intraocular pressure are associated with damage to the optic nerve, which may result in irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Ocular hypertension is characterized by elevated levels of intraocular pressure without any optic nerve damage. Patients with ocular hypertension are at high risk of developing glaucoma. In the U.S. alone 2.7 million people suffer from glaucoma. According to IMS Health data, there were 33 million prescriptions and sales of over $2.4 billion of drugs administered by eye drops for the treatment of glaucoma in 2014.

Sustained Release Travoprost (OTX-TP) is a preservative-free drug product candidate that resides within the canaliculus and delivers the prostaglandin analog travoprost to the ocular surface for up to 90 days. The drug depot is designed to deliver a continuous steady release throughout the treatment period. A fluorescent visualization aid is formulated within the product to enable both the physician and the patient to monitor drug presence throughout the course of therapy.

Ocular Therapeutix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for diseases and conditions of the eye using its proprietary hydrogel platform technology.

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PerkinElmer Opens New Diagnostics Facility in Chennai

Feb 17, 2016 0

WALTHAM, MA–PerkinElmer, Inc., a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment, has expanded its footprint in India with the opening of a new diagnostics facility in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The laboratory will provide a comprehensive menu of diagnostic screening services to hospitals, maternity nursing facilities, diagnostic labs and clinicians throughout India.

Jayashree Thacker

Jayashree Thacker

Prahlad Singh, President, Diagnostics, PerkinElmer formally inaugurated the facility in the presence of a leading group of clinicians, including gynecologists, fetal medicine specialists and pediatricians, along with medical research professionals and key opinion leaders.

Since 1981, PerkinElmer has been providing instruments and services to customers in India, spanning a wide range of markets. The opening of the Chennai laboratory broadens PerkinElmer’s diagnostic offerings to respond to India’s growing need for easier access to technologies that can screen for and help diagnose prenatal and neonatal conditions. Newborn screening helps detect metabolic and other inherited disorders that are treatable only when identified during the first few days of life.

“We are experiencing a steady rise in demand for maternal fetal health and newborn screening solutions in India as hospitals, clinicians and expectant parents strive to ensure healthier outcomes through early detection, diagnosis and proper management of prenatal and neonatal conditions,” said Jayashree Thacker, President, PerkinElmer India. “This state-of-the art laboratory underscores our commitment to our continued expansion plans in India. By increasing our capacity to accommodate higher testing volumes, offer a comprehensive and growing menu of diagnostic assays, and provide a hands-on experience with our innovative technologies, we are further supporting India’s healthcare requirements.”

The Chennai laboratory extends PerkinElmer’s capabilities in India with a widened set of assays related to cytogenetics and molecular diagnostics. PerkinElmer will also provide customer service and support, along with product training and demonstrations, at the Chennai laboratory. A newborn screening application facility within the lab will showcase PerkinElmer’s programs and includes visual aids, equipment platforms and application software to support key stakeholders.

PerkinElmer, Inc. is a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment. The Company reported revenue of approximately $2.3 billion in 2015, has approximately 8,000 employees serving customers in more than 150 countries, and is a component of the S&P 500 Index.

The Company established direct operations in India in 2004 and currently has more than 6,000 customers there across several markets including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, biotech, food, agriculture, chemicals, plastics, automobile and academic research labs.

PerkinElmer’s global diagnostic offerings include: prenatal, neonatal and infectious disease screening, along with molecular diagnostics solutions, through its wide range of instruments, reagents and assay platforms, and software. The Company also provides private cord blood and cord tissue preservation to families through ViaCord, LLC.

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Indian Medical Devices Market to Hit $17.6 Billion by 2020

Feb 16, 2016 0

LONDON – The medical devices space in India will see impressive expansion, rising from $10.4 billion in 2014 to reach $17.6 billion by 2020, representing a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.4%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s report states that although this market will not see the same level of growth as the pharmaceutical sector, it will still undergo significant changes, driven by mounting patient awareness of advancements in medical technology, and an aging population.

Adam Dion

Adam Dion

Adam Dion, MSc, GlobalData’s Senior Industry Analyst, says that India’s medical device market is one of the fastest-growing, thanks to the country’s strong economic growth, improving living standards and large population.

Dion comments: “Purchasing power within the country has been rising gradually over the last two decades due to high and consistent economic growth and increasing job opportunities. The influx of people has resulted in more densely-populated cities and, by extension, an increased demand for medical facilities and devices.
“In addition to benefiting from increased purchasing power within the region itself, the Indian medical devices arena is also profiting from a booming medical tourism market, which is driven by the comparatively low cost of treatments.”

In terms of current opportunities within the medical devices arena, ophthalmic devices take up the largest proportion of market share. In 2014, sales for these devices were valued at approximately $3 billion, having grown at a CAGR of 7.3% from $1.98 billion in 2008.

Dion notes that: “Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and Essilor International are the current market leaders in India’s ophthalmology devices space, but they face competition from several major players, such as Carl Zeiss, Bausch & Lomb (i.e. Valeant), and Novartis’ Alcon subsidiary.”

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60 percent rise in cosmetic surgeries in India ahead of Valentine’s Day

Feb 13, 2016 0

New Delhi–There has been a 60 percent increase in the number of cosmetic surgeries by the youth across the country in the last one month ahead of the Valentine’s Day on February 14, doctors said on Friday.

They said the surge is mostly due to the youth’s propensity for easy ways out to look better and also the availability of cosmetic surgeries at a reasonable price.

“The sudden increase of cosmetic surgeries by the youth especially during the Valentine Day’s month is a surprise .Women in their early twenties are looking for breast implants (with permission from their parents).

“Having a good cleavage is the most common aesthetic end point today for the young women,” said Mohan Thomas, senior cosmetic surgeon at Cosmetic Surgery Institute and Breach Candy Hospital.

According to the doctors, the need for cosmetic results have arisen because of the fast results sought by the young, who otherwise are reluctant to adopt health lifestyle that can fulfil their wish naturally.

“There are requests for breast augmentation, liposuction and sometimes both. We need to cater to these requests. The trend currently is photo rejuvenation, where in just one sitting of 15-20 minutes you can find yourself glowing like never before,” said Vinod Vij, cosmetic surgeon at Clinique Asthetica and Fortis hospital.

Currently, the cosmetic surgeries relating to skin and several other minor procedures cost around Rs.8,000-9,000 only.

” The demand for cosmetic surgeries increases around the Valentine’s Day, especially due to discounts of up to 15-20 percent on offer. The trend is seen not just in women, but men too are equally feeling the need to look better,” said Aamod Rao, another cosmetic surgeon.

According to Rao, six-pack abs among men and Botox injections among women are commonly requested procedures.

“Women go for injectable treatments because of lack of time. Injectables like Botox and Juvederm have become popular among women. These fillers are just injected into the area that needs uplift or treat wrinkles, which show better and fast results,” said Rao, who is working with Get Enhanced Clinic.

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Eye hospital chain to set up 7 new facilities

Feb 6, 2016 0

NEW DELHI–Eye hospital chain Center for Sight on Saturday said it will set up seven new facilities, including a super specialty hospital here.

The Delhi-headquartered company would invest Rs.16.55 crore in setting up an eye hospital here and Rs 26 crore in establishing the other six eye care centers across the country, said chairman and managing director Mahipal Singh Sachdev.

Centre for Sight, which currently has eye hospitals in eight states, is in the process of making its initial public offering (IPO) by which it aims to raise Rs 115 crore.

On Saturday, it filed its draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

“The proposed public issue will comprise a fresh issue of shares to raise about Rs 115 crore and an offer for sale of up to 2.54 million shares by the existing shareholders,” said Sachdev.

The company plans to use Rs.28.6 crore of the funds it expects to raise through the IPO to buy shares of CFS Netralaya, another eye care provider.

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India faces acute shortage of nursing staff

Feb 5, 2016 0

AGRA–Acute shortage of trained nurses is proving to be a major setback to expansion of health services in India, a panel at an ongoing global summit on critical care medicine here has said.

Doctors said there was large-scale migration of nurses to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, Australia, the European continent and other countries which offered better salaries and facilities.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) experts said there was a major gap of 50 percent where for every two critical patients least one nurse is needed.

“In the private sector hospitals, the gap was more evident due to poor salaries,” the experts noted.

Doctor Rajesh Pandey of Delhi said though India produced the largest number of trained nurses, it faced the most acute shortage of paramedics. After training and learning English, the market in the developed world offered much better facilities for them.

Trained nurses were integral to running critical care units and trauma centres. India will need to address this emerging problem sooner rather than later, the doctors said.

Doctor Tasneem from the UAE said Indian nursing staff was any day better and professionally better equipped and, therefore, got the importance they deserved in UAE hospitals.

Due to better quality of life, if the nurses had a choice in UAE they would prefer to go to the western countries than return to India, Tasneem said.

Over 3,500 delegates from India, the US, Britain, China and Pakistan besides other neighbouring countries have come together for the first global summit on critical care medicine being held here from February 3 to 7.

Over 150 research papers are scheduled to be presented at the summit. Besides, workshops on 14 new fields of critical care are expected to be beneficial for attending doctors.

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Why India has the world’s most stillborn babies

Feb 5, 2016 0

By Deepa Padmanaban

NAGAPURA, Karnataka– Her pale, yellow eyes stood out against her dusky skin, and the grief was visible on the face of the young woman from a tribe of traditional honey gatherers living on the edge of south Karnataka’s Nagarhole National Park.

Shanta (she uses only one name) recounted how her baby, a boy, was born dead. When she felt labour pains, she travelled by autorickshaw 20 km to the nearest district hospital at Hunsur, where they told her the baby had died in her womb, two days ago. Shanta – in her mid 20s – was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition that endangers the baby if the mother is not diagnosed and treated.

Such deaths are common in Nagapura, whose women report more than 50 deaths over a decade, although there are no records. A bony woman called Ambika, also in her mid 20s, saw her baby born dead – a stillbirth in medical parlance – as a midwife and her mother-in-law attended to her.

When Bhavna Niranjankumar, a doctor with Mysore’s Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII), an NGO, asked Ambika why she didn’t go to the hospital for the delivery, she replied: “It happened very quickly.”

Ambika and Shanta are Jenu Korubas (literally, honey shepherds). Like Ambika, most women of the tribe give birth at home. Their dead-at-birth babies are part of the 592,000 stillborns in India, the largest of any country in 2015, according to research published last month by the Lancet a global medical journal.

A stillbirth is a “baby born with no signs of life at or after 28 weeks’ gestation”, according to the World Health Organisation.

Worldwide, the rate of stillbirths decreased to 18.4 per 1,000 births in 2015 from 24.7 in 2000. In India, the stillbirth rate fell from 33.3 to 23 over the same period, the same as Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique, all poorer countries.

The global average annual rate of reduction of stillbirths at two percent is slower than either maternal (three percent) or post-neonatal mortality of children younger than five years (4.5 percent). In India too, the annual rate of reduction for maternal (5.7 percent) and neo-natal mortality (4.6 percent) was better than that of stillbirths (2.4 percent)

Among the risk factors: Lack of timely and quality antenatal monitoring and care; non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes; nutritional factors, such as maternal anemia; biomedical factors, such as congenital abnormalities, infections, and lifestyle; environmental factors, such as drinking and smoking; and social determinants, including poverty, transportation and general living conditions.

Disadvantaged women are twice at risk of having stillbirths, the Lancet study said, a factor evident in Nagapura and across India.

Physicians who refuse to touch tribal women – and other reasons for poor health

Among the reasons that makes Jenu Koruba women shy away from organised healthcare is – they complained – the discrimination they feel at health clinics, both government and NGO. They are made to wait for hours, and physicians often refuse to touch them, they said.

“When I went to the district hospital for the 20-week scan, no one attended to me,” Shanta told IndiaSpend. “I waited for more than two hours, no one called me and so I came back without getting a scan.”

For a people without public transportation, traveling to a hospital 20 km away is not easy, and to make the journey, they rely on husbands, who are often away at work in the neighbouring hill district of Kodagu, where they work as daily wage labourers on coffee plantations.

Most people in Nagapura are illiterate, unaware of health needs – yet, Shanta made the journey to Hunsur – and many of them, having earlier lived inside forests, rely on traditional medicine.

Over the last few years, NGOS, such as PHRII, and government workers have run health camps for pregnant and post-natal women and infants, handing out information on maternal and child health, and have encouraged tribal women to be regularly checked at primary health centres. They don’t come though, and when they do, the discrimination does not help.

The women are also highly anaemic, said Niranjankumar, but they do not take the iron supplements given to them. Asked why, the women smiled sheepishly. Doctors speculate they are not used to taking tablets.

Stillbirths are reducing across India, but there are still too many.

States that pay attention to maternal health reduce chances of stillbirths

The “Every Newborn Action Plan”, explained in the Lancet study, aims to bring the global stillbirth rate to 12 or lower per 1,000 births by 2030 (India in 2014 adopted the India Newborn Action Plan with the aim to reach a single-digit stillbirth target). That will require empowered women, better healthcare and progress checks.

The dividends are obvious.

Indian states that focused on maternal healthcare also had healthier children, IndiaSpend recently reported. Programmes such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), launched in 2005 to ensure safe motherhood, successfully offer cash incentives to encourage institutional deliveries, the rate of which–to all deliveries–increased from 56.7 percent in 2006-07 to 78.5 percent in 2010-11, according to government data.

Karnataka had 94 percent institutional deliveries according to data released recently by the National Family Health Survey. Uttarakhand and Meghalaya were the worst, with 61 percent and 58.4 percent respectively. The rest were home deliveries, most without trained-health-worker supervision and possibly in unhygienic conditions. The reported reasons for home delivery were convenience, fear of stitches, unavailability of transportation and the inability to afford hospitals.

JSY beneficiaries, since it launched a decade ago, increased from 0.74 million to 10.4 million in 2014-15. But this government review revealed that only 15 percent of JSY institutions were equipped to deal with institutional deliveries.

( Deepa Padmanaban is a Bengaluru-based journalist, specialising in public-health reporting. The views expressed are personal.)

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