Opportunities In The IVD Industry Post Covid
Mr. Abhinav Thakur
Secretary, ADMI & Managing Director,
Accurex Biomedical (P) Ltd.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a
dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an
unprecedented challenge to public health.
One of the most used strategies
that can be used to control the spread of COVID-19 is
the 3T (test, trace, and treatment) strategy.
Diagnostics has been the backbone of the COIVD
COVID-19 has reconfirmed the
importance of diagnostics in managing any disease,
more so in a pandemic. A common person now understands
what is an antigen, antibody or RT PCR test. Everyone
now understands the lab and its staff’s critical role,
in helping clinicians quickly with accurate diagnosis
within the overburdened hospitals during this
The world now understands the
importance of diagnostics in our healthcare ecosystem.
This is attracting investments into the IVD Industry
at a scale never seen before.
New companies are
entering the IVD market at a rapid pace. More than 200
products for COVID-19 (not including laboratory developed
tests) have been authorized by the US FDA.
These are mostly small
operations, but large companies have also entered IVD in
some form or another this year, including Amazon, Eli
Lilly, Ford, and the Mayo Clinic, along with wellknown
life science names such as Sherlock, WuXi Biologics,
Promega, and Agena Biosciences. Guardant Health and
Biocept have moved from oncology operations to infectious
disease testing due to the virus. Imaging player Fujifilm
entered IVD with a recent acquisition unrelated to the
In India also the COIVD
19 pandemic has at0tracted Tata, CIPLA and Serum Institute
of India into the diagnostic industry.
Serum Institute of
India has invested more than 100 crores in MyLab Discovery
Solutions to fund advanced automation and increase
production capacity of Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19
Qualitative PCR kits.
The investment made by
Serum Institute of India made it possible for the
production of the Covid-19 testing kits to be ramped up
from 1.5 lakh tests/week to 20 lakh tests/week in a few
weeks. This speed of upscaling was unheard of in the
Indian diagnostics industry.
CIPLA has launched
ELIFast(IgG Elisa test) for COVID-19 antibody detection.
Tata Medical Device
company has launched a new test for Covid-19; ready with
10 lakh tests/month capacity.
Large companies like
TATA entering the diagnostics space is good news for an
import dependent diagnostics industry.
One success strory of
Make in India due to COVID was in the Viral Transport Kit
Manufacturing Industry of India. VTM kit manufacturers
have been importing swabs from countries like China and
USA. These imported swabs cost anywhere between Rs 30-Rs
40 per piece.
To counter the shortage
of swabs and also bring down overall kit costs, several
government departments -- health and textile -- have been
working with domestic manufacturers to locally produce
synthetic swabs. This resulted in Made-in-India
Coronavirus test swabs to cost only one-tenth of imported
Currently 70% of
diagnostic products are imported in India. Products
imported into India are designed for the developed world
and not developing countries like India. The products are
manufactured in high wage countries like Europe and
America and sold to low wage countries like India. This
makes the products unaffordable to the vast majority of
With companies like
TATA investing into indigenization of diagnostics it will
make the tests affordable to the vast majority of our
Large companies such as
the TATA’s can invest large capital into R&D and plant &
machinery which will lead to an increase in manufacturing
in India. Trusted brands like TATA will ensure that the
quality standards of their products are also harmonized to
The entry of a few
large players will help build the ecosystem that will
benefit all the stakeholders.
A rising tide lifts all
boats: The capital that the TATA’s and others invest into
the diagnostics industry will develop the physical
infrastructure as well as the skill of the workforce in
the diagnostics industry.
The investments will
create more jobs in the IVD manufacturing industry. Some
of these employees over time will leave and join other
companies or become entrepreneurs. This will lead to
creation of more companies. As more companies are created
the supply chain also gets created and over a period of
time the entire manufacturing ecosystem is created.
If the TATA’s succeed
in building a large diagnostics company in India it will
lead to many more successful companies coming out of
products manufactured in India can be supplied to the rest
of the developing world also.
This will help improve
access to diagnostics for the world’s most vulnerable
From pharmacy to the
world we could also become the lab to the world.
Abhinav Thakur, Managing Director
of Accurex Biomedical is a graduate of world renowned
University Of California- Davis. He has completed his
PGDM from NMIMS University, Mumbai. He is the Managing
Director at ACCUREX since 2004.
Due to Abhinav’s dedication and
passion, the company has grown 4.2 times in revenue
and team strength has increased from 90 to 200
employees since he has been appointed as the Managing
Director of the company.
Previously he has worked with
California Diabetes Prevention Program in California,
U.S.A. Abhinav is an active member of the Association
of India Medical Devices (AIMED) as the Jt.
Coordinator and Secretary for the Association for
Diagnostic Manufacturers of India (ADMI). He has
spoken at various industry forums such as Bombay
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Voice of Healthcare,
CLIN-LAB & Dun & Bradstreet.