Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMED) has been invited to be on the governing board of Kalam Institute of Health Technology (KIHT), a project initiated under AMTZ (Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone).
New Delhi: Kalam Institute of Health Technology (KIHT), India’s first institute dedicated to medical devices under the AMTZ (Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone) project initiative, will be headed by a governing board comprising AiMED, Stanford-India Biodesign (SIB) Programme, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and seven other member institutions.
The KIHT governing board includes Dr R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, as President; Dr K Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Bio-Technology, as Chairperson; and Dr Jitendar Sharma, Director & CEO of AMTZ, as Executive Director.
The governing body, comprising 8-10 member institutions, will monitor the progress made by the institute, review the annual reports and add value through its advices. “The members are the original founding members of the society, which was created as a formal institution to oversee the industry and work with the government for utilisation of the funds in a proper manner for desired objectives,” said Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, AiMED.
The two functions that the body aims to fulfil are re-identification and medical technology transfer.
Dr Jitendra Sharma, executive director, KIHT, added, “One major function of KIHT will be to guide the Government of India on what to fund for R&D. The second major function will be pooling all the medical devices which are lying in prototype stage in the institutional labs like IIT and auction them to the industry. The money gained out of the auction will reach back to the investors, as thousands of crores have been invested on thousands of research work on medical technology with no benefits to the industry and patients because the prototypes have only been kept in the lab.”
Citing an example, Nath said, “We will be coordinating with Indian Institute of Science to compile a list of patents that have already been filed for various technologies and then we will seek the government’s permission to auction them. So that the devices can be utilized by Indian entrepreneurs at low cost and can be put into promotional use. The second task is to have coordinated strategies to decide the priority diseases in the country and see the unavailable technologies overseas. These unavailable technologies can be illustrated for R&D purposes in India. We hope that India will take off as a manufacturing base for medical devices in the world.”
The formal launch of the institute is yet to be done. “The work has already started with all the approvals and funding. The union government is yet to announce the date of launch which is keenly awaited,” said Dr Sharma. He added, “First set of priority is the listing of technology that requires R&D in India. Applications will be requested from academic and research institutions, who are interested to do R&D on the priority list for which the department of biotechnology, Government of India, will provide financial support. Application form is being designed while the first set of technology transfer prototype auctions is being formulated. Lots of things are in process. The institute may also come up with short term courses, workshops or seminars on technology transfer. KIHT is supposed to be the brain of medical technology policy in India.”
Dr Sharma stated that Indian medical technology industry has a growth rate of 16%, which is highest in the world. “But the cost of manufacturing medical device, which is very high, has been a major challenge as we didn’t have any scientific facility until AMTZ was announced. As part of the AMTZ initiative, 11 huge industrial labs will be set up for the cost of almost Rs 300 crore. Around 240 factories will be created so that the industry can manufacture the devices with the minimal investment.”
AiMED is also advocating for the development of more medical devices parks across the country, and is in talks with the state governments of Telangana, Haryana and Gujarat. “Our first focus is to create the required ecosystem and policies to support medical devices manufacturing in India. The most important one is the current duty structure which varies from 0 to 7.5 %, and needs to be at least 10% to make manufacturing of devices viable in India. As long as duty remains low, people will keep on importing goods in the country and will not give much incentive to manufacturing.