Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Jai Shankar Krishnan, President-India and Southeast Asia, Danaher, Mumbai to know more about the role of technology in shaping the healthcare needs and challenges in India.
Your views on disease burden and prevalence in India
The prevalence of diseases in India is quite large and, unfortunately, the prevalence of communicable diseases especially is exceptionally high. India is a hub for some of the diseases such as tuberculosis or cataract.
Tell us about Danaher’s main business. How is it aligned to Cepheid’s business development boards in India?
Danaher is a family of brands. At Danaher, our intent lies in helping people realize life’s potential. We have more than 20 operating companies and Cepheid is one of our fully-owned subsidiaries globally, and in India. We have a strong footprint in India and multiple manufacturing sites. We have a large R&D team working in India, and we conduct a lot of R&D here to address local issues.
As the parent company of Cepheid, what is the type of support, connect and technology transfers that you’re doing?
Every Danaher company works on its own. It has its own business and P&L.The role of Danaher as a corporation is to ensure that we leverage our synergies across our businesses. It could be in terms of growth initiatives or support like tuberculosis where everybody wants to come together and support for a cause. So, being the parent company, we would invest in technology, acquisitions, or localisation of what we could really do. In some of the initiatives like what Cepheid is planning to do now, localisation is very close to what Danaher would like to do in markets like India.
Now, what according to you are some of the global health and disease trends? How is Danaher’s business aligned to address these challenges and trends?
At Danaher we want to ensure that we are helping understand customers’ needs. It could be unmet needs, it could be existing unarticulated needs that’s there in the marketplace and we are across multiple platforms. Danaher group of companies are able to address most of them. As Cepheid, we are into molecular diagnostics. We want to invest in cutting-edge technology. Innovation and Investment doesn’t necessarily mean only in product technology. We also want to ensure that there is innovation in terms of the way we go to market. For instance, Cepheid is using rural vans to reach out to tier-II and III markets, so that is a go-to-market innovation in terms of what you want to do from an access standpoint. Danaher is ready to invest as part of its wholly-owned subsidiaries to help support unmet needs either in the form of customer delight and experience or product innovation or even simple go-to-market experiences.
Given the varied healthcare challenges in countries like India, what initiatives have you required from the healthcare companies to improve diagnosis, health tech and healthy innovations, etc.?
Today in India, there is a strong awareness coming in. I think the government is working together with multiple forums, be it external agencies or funding agencies. think with the awareness level increasing and with digitization and social media coming into play, there is faster communication of relevance of issues such as tuberculosis. Danaher and Cepheid would like to partner and collaborate with different stakeholders to address some of those customer needs and expectations.
Now, as the world becomes a global village, India being a large market, why are partnerships critical to Danaher?
We live in a connected world. Organizations and individuals stand no chance to win on their own. If one wants to win and succeed and make an impact in the marketplace, in the social front, we need to collaborate. Collaboration can be varied, they could be partnership with the government, funding agencies, forum, academia, etc. too in terms of investment, in terms of what we could do on a research fund, could be dimensions that would significantly help us address some of the needs of the country and the marketplace.
Now, what are some of the focus areas for Danaher and what are some of the new innovations of technology that you are working on?
Danaher, runs all its operations through its subsidiaries. Like Cepheid, we have 20 other operating companies. We have a R&D hub in Bangalore and we have filed a lot of patents. Many of our global patents are coming out of Bangalore. It is our quest to innovate constantly. So we have invested in R&D, in terms of talent that we could get in Bangalore and in India, to be able to develop some technologies that could not only be used for the local markets but also for the global markets.
India, as we all know, is a talent hub. We want to leverage the talent pool out of India. About 10-15 years back, Danaher identified India as one of the markets for R&D work. We do a lot of software and hardware work out of India and it continues to be one of our focus areas globally in terms of investing and driving through puts coming out of innovation. We do a host of innovation such as IOT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, all cutting-edge work that, India is proud of and boasts of.