Business snapshot of the healthcare sector in March and April 2021
13 May 2021

The use of digital technologies is advancing exponentially especially in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 in India. Various HealthTech providers have come forward to support the public health response to the pandemic including teleconsultation, e-pharmacy, and e-diagnostic solutions. 

The future of public health is likely to become increasingly digital with supportive Government initiatives like the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), continued investments in the HealthTech space, and medical innovation that will revolutionize the future of medicine.  

Our recent analysis of the healthcare sector aims to capture key trends and highlights from March and April this year, including:

  • Top three emerging themes
  • Key investment and deals
  • Sub vertical wise trends focused on:
    • Healthcare delivery
    • Diagnostics 
    • HealthTech
    • Medical devices and consumables
    • Health insurance
    • Regulatory

As per Praxis analysis, three key themes that emerged in the healthcare sector are: 

  1. HealthTech, as a segment in India, maintained high growth with investments of ~US $400 million in the past two months
  2. Focus on initiatives to tackle the challenges arising from the second COVID-19 wave – by the industry as well as the Government
  3. Boost to digital health with the expansion of telemedicine, focus on remote diagnostic and monitoring, strengthening of clinical digital infrastructure

Key investments and partnerships: 

  • Health and condition management
    • Health tech startup Fitterfly, which works in digital therapeutics raised US$ 3.1 million in a pre-series A round, led by Fireside Ventures
    • Estonia based healthtech VIVEO Health to partner with Voll Sante, a Mumbai based nutrition startup to promote and provide nutritional and physical therapy in India
  • Digital Healthcare Infrastructure
    • Alkem Labs invested in healthcare services firm ABCD technologies to digitize healthcare infrastructure in support of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM)
    • Healthtech startup HealthPlix raised US$ 13.5 million in Series B led by Lightspeed Venture Partners
  • Healthcare delivery
    • Healthcare startup Pristyn Care raised US$53 million in Series D funding led by Tiger Global Management
    • Cancer Clinics (distributed network of day-care cancer treatment centers) raised US$ 1.5 million, Series A funding, led by Axilor Ventures
    • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd. (NIIF) invested US$ 280 million in Manipal Hospitals through its direct private equity to be able to serve the healthcare needs of India
  • Primary healthcare
    • Lifesciences incubator C-CAMP partners with global non-profit PATH for improving primary healthcare in India
  • E-Pharmacy
    • Pharmeasy joined the Unicorn club, raised US$ 323 million in a Series E funding, led by Prosus Ventures and TPG Growth
  • Medical devices
    • Anthill ventures (invests in, and scales, early-stage startups) partnered with Israeli HealthTech firm Kanfit3D for India market expansion to manufacture custom-made medical implants
  • Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship
    • Atal Innovation Mission, the Government of India’s flagship initiative, and Bayer, a global life science company, joined hands to foster innovation & entrepreneurship across the healthcare sector

Sub-vertical wise key highlights of the month:

  • Healthcare delivery: 
    • Expansion of vaccination capacity: Central government decided to allow private hospitals not affiliated to Ayushman Bharat, CGHS, and State schemes, to administer the COVID-19 vaccinations
    • Expansion of eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination: Government decided to launch Phase-3 vaccination for all adults between 18 to 45 years of age

  • Diagnostics: 
    • Diagnostics focusing on COVID-19 saw higher traction
      • Tata Medical and Diagnostics (TataMD) collaborated with city-based Anderson Diagnostics to standardize the indigenously developed diagnostic kit TataMD CHECK in a bid to slow down the rate of new COVID-19 infections
      • IIT Kharagpur commercialized its flagship product COVIRAP, the novel diagnostic technology to zero in on infectious diseases including COVID-19
      • Leading diagnostic chains like SRL Diagnostics, Dr. Lal Pathlabs, and Thyrocare Technologies are enhancing testing infrastructure and manpower amid surging COVID-19 cases
    • Mergers and acquisitions
      • Swiss pharma giant Roche announced to buy American firm GenMark Diagnostics for US$ 1.8B to increase the portfolio of molecular diagnostics 
      • HealthMap Diagnostics, a diagnostic chain controlled by Manipal Group and a private equity fund managed by Morgan Stanley, looks at a merger with Mumbai based iGenetic Diagnostics
  • Healthtech: 
    • Telemedicine:
      • Heathtech startup Practo launches online consultation services in 15 Indian languages (including Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, and Kannada) on its app and website
      • Practo also launched 24*7 veterinary telemedicine services on its platform
    • Combining teleconsultation with smart remote diagnostic: MFine launched an app-based SpO2 monitoring tool, MFine Pulse, to help users keep track of their oxygen saturation levels using the phone camera and flash 
    • Electronic medical records (EMRs): (smart multi-modal digital doctor assistant) launches flagship API platform, SimboAlpha for creating voice-enabled electronic medical records
    • Going global: Nirmai Health Analytix’s AI-based, radiation-free breast cancer screening solution, Thermalytix, received CE mark approval to expand to global markets
    • Better healthcare access for the elderly: 1mg, online pharmacy and healthcare platform, joins hands with Columbia Pacific Communities to ensure better healthcare access for the elderly
    • AI-powered remote patient monitoring: Healthcare startup Dozee launches a contactless Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), AI-powered triaging system to enable remote monitoring of patients outside of the ICU
  • Medical device and consumables: 
    • Boost to Make in India: Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP) incorporated 19 medical devices in the revised guidelines of the public procurement order to boost medical device manufacturing by strengthening ‘Make in India’
      • Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices (HMD) to invest over US$ 14 million to ramp up syringe production from a current production capacity of 2.5 billion to over 3 billion
    • Steps taken to address oxygen shortage crisis for treating COVID-19 patients
      • Medical device companies ramped up the production of oxygen concentrators, increased imports in India through other countries to fight the oxygen crisis prevailing in India due to COVID-19
      • Government of India waived off the custom duty on imports of oxygen manufacturing related equipment
  • Health Insurance: 
    • COVID-19 related health insurance
      • Centre extends Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 which concluded on March 24, 2021 
      • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) allowed insurers to continue to offer as well as renew standard COVID-19 policies (Corona Kavanch and Corona Rakshak) till Sept 30, 2021
    • Health insurance for all: Under Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana, Rajasthan begins registration of Health Insurance Scheme wherein which each family will get insurance cover of INR 5 Lakhs by paying INR 850 annually
  • Regulatory: 
    • Disease surveillance: Union Health Ministry launches Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP), a disease surveillance platform to track 33 diseases
    • Financing support: Finance ministry widens the scope of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (EGLGS) to cover the borrowers from the healthcare segment
    • Customs duty waiver on COVID-19 drug: Government waived custom duty on key coronavirus drug Remdesivir and its raw materials to lower the cost

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has been a huge setback to the Indian healthcare infrastructure. Rigorous efforts have been taken by the Government and private players to support patients. Many companies/startups have also risen to the occasion and accelerated to develop low-cost, stable, and quick solutions to tackle the second COVID-19 wave. Investments in digital healthcare solutions, primary and secondary healthcare continued to flow in providing increased confidence amongst startups and other private players. Accelerated adoption of digital technologies will continue to drive the growth of the Indian Healthcare sector in the future.

Authored by:

Sumit Goel, Managing Partner and Head - Healthcare and Pharma

Shashikant Chaurasia, Vice President, Healthcare

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