Then why the entry into a much smaller
segment like diagnostics, where the company will have to battle it out with big names as
Ranbaxy, Johnson & Johnson, E-Merck, Infar and Dr Reddys?
According to a company executive,
"Existing techniques for making diagnosis in India are still not very sophisticated.
Therefore, there is a big scope in the diagnostics market, which is already growing by
about 20 per cent per annum. We want to set a precedent by bringing into the country the
most advanced, qualitative and innovative products in the field of diagnostics."
Morepen has established a separate division
Medipath, for this purpose and has identified two products to begin with. ID Microtyping
Systems used in blood group serology and Optimal, a product used to conduct rapid malaria
For the former, Morepen has already tied up
with Swiss major, Diamed AG, world leader in diagnostics, which offers a wide range of
products globally in the field of blood group serology, haematology, coagulation and
infectious diseases and instrumentation. Diamed leads the field in blood group serology,
where its product Diamed ID Microtyping System, based on gel test, is used globally. Gel
technology enjoys a 90 per cent market share in European countries with global sales of
$200 million. Over a million tests are performed daily, worldwide, with ID system making
Diamed the worlds number one reagent manufacturer. ID Microtyping System is also
manufactured in Florida under the USFDA license.
Is there any guarantee that a product, which
sells in other countries, will also sell in India? Answered the company executive,
"We have already conducted field surveys, which have shown that the Indian market has
tremendous potential. From the two products put together, we are targeting sales of
anything above Rs. 20 crore in fiscal 2002."
Approval from the Drug Controller of India
has already come through for Optimal and that for ID Microtyping Systems is expected in
the next three to four weeks. Company sources said there is a ready market for both the
Microtyping Systems the company is aiming at capturing all the blood banks in the
country as well as leading private and institutional pathology labs.
Considered to be a major technological
advancement over conventional methods, the biggest advantage of ID Microtyping Systems is
that stability of reactions is maintained for up to 48 hours. The results therefore can be
read or checked long after the tests have been conducted. In comparison, results through
conventional methods have to be read immediately due to the non-stability factor.
Moreover, tests through Diamed ID cards involve no "Wash phase" in anti-globulin
testing, which therefore eliminates the need of skilled laboratory staff and makes the
test less time consuming. The tests are simple and rapid to perform and the results can be
easily interpreted. The ID cards have a built in control validation, which minimizes the
need for an additional check with sensitized cells. ID cards also do not need any outside
reagents, as they are already present in the cards unlike in conventional methods. This
eliminates the problem of standardization, which is prevailing in conventional methods.
For Optimal the executive
said, " More deaths are reported in India out of malaria than out of aids or cancer
in India. With the kind of advantages it possesses, Optimal will prove to be another
Company executives point out that in
comparison to the existing tests, the specificity of tests with Optimal is almost 99 per
cent and sensitivity is more than 96 per cent. Moreover, using Optimal, only one test need
be performed to determine the difference between P Falciparum and P Vivax,
two more complicated kinds of malaria. With conventional methods, two different tests have
to be performed to differentiate between the two strains of malaria. Thus, the company
believes that tests with Optimal will prove to be more cost effective to the consumer as the outgo will not be more than Rs. 159 per test in
comparison to more than Rs. 200 right now, using conventional method. " It is going
to be a monopoly product and we also hope to capture a big part of the rural market as
well as remote area market as the test is quite easy and simple to perform". Last but
the not the least, results through Optimal are ready for being read within ten minutes
whereas in conventional methods it could take almost a day before results are deciphered.