One in 4 deaths in India is now because of CVDs with ischemic heart disease and stroke responsible for >80% of this burden. In 2016, the estimated prevalence of CVDs in India was estimated to be 54.5 million. Thus preventive measures in terms of early diagnosis are of utmost importance.
Non-invasive cardiac imaging has undergone a recent resurgence in India with the development of new approaches for imaging coronary atherosclerosis and there are developments in the field with a growing evidence base regarding risk assessment and the diagnosis of obstructive coronary disease.
Gaurav Agarwal, MD, IITPL - Innovation Imaging Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and Director - Innvolution Healthcare, is an expert in the field of Cardiovascular Devices led by Professionals, formerly holding leadership positions in top companies like Abbott Vascular and Cordis.
Innovation Imaging Technologies Pvt. Ltd - IITPL is a unique amalgamation of strengths in Cath Lab Design and Manufacturing, X-Ray Imaging, Software, and Interventional Cardiology Consumables. Founded in 2010, Innvolution is committed to bringing cutting edge technologies to save more lives and improve quality of life by developing indigenous solutions in Cardio-Respiratory Domain.
Innvolution on being one of the most diversified solution providers for Cardiovascular Diseases in India
Gaurav throws light on the subject, “Our journey started in 2010 and our goal at that point in time was and remains till date to bring in cutting edge technologies to save more lives and improve quality of life by developing indigenous solutions in Cardio-Respiratory Domain. And also make them more accessible to the larger portions of our society. So I can relate an incident at an MNC, when we would visit the hospitals and it would be hurtful to see the patients being turned away because they could not afford the cost of angioplasty at some premium hospital, I am talking about 2007 – 2008. The cost of a single stent could be 8 – 10 lakh. It would also be very disheartening that patients had to travel 600 – 700 km in some cases to get treatment for life-threatening heart disease and a lot of patients couldn’t make it honestly. So those were the triggers for us to start thinking on these lines. And a lot of Indian companies were stepping up to provide solutions to heart disease and we were one of them so I was fortunate to have 4 co-founders. Within the group, we have 100 years of experience in the Cardiovascular device space. We were able to leverage that state of the art medical devices ranges stents, balloons, and several other products for the angioplasty range to the country. Then in 2016, a huge change happened in our journey, we signed a joint venture to develop cardiac cath labs in the country. Cath labs is a very complex piece of equipment, it's a piece of very complex x-ray equipment under which angioplasty is done and in 2019 to give you an example, almost 85 % of the cath lab equipment were imported so we decided we will make solutions to heart disease more accessible and affordable to the wider segment of our society and in 2018 we commercialized the cath lab and as I sit here we become the fastest growing and the most awarded cath lab of Asia in the last 2 years. So we are certainly the most awarded cath lab in India and it is a great feeling and we will not stop till we deliver our promise of cardiovascular care becoming more accessible to a vast chunk of our society,” he says.
Creating diversified solutions for Medical Imaging
Gaurav throws light on how Pinnacle and Pinnacle Agile Cath Labs which were founded in 2015, are the fastest growing and the most awarded Cath Lab of India in 2018 since cardiovascular disease is a life-threatening disease, “Over 30 lakh Indians die due to cardiovascular disease or heart disease every year. It was sad to know only 1400 such cath labs existed in the country as per 2018 data across 140 cities. To put it in perspective, there are over 600 cities as per the 2011 consensus that has a population of over 1 lakh people. Imagine out of this only 1/5th have the facility of getting an angioplasty done as others cannot afford the very high cost of setting up a cath lab so that was our vision to make cardiovascular care more accessible to the wider chunk of the society and with that goal, we have 60 cath labs installed in our country and we added to 1400 and we are proud to tell you that 8 out of those cities did not have a cath lab and which meant patients had to travel to metro cities to get a life-threatening heart disease treated but now they can very high-quality heart disease care available in some nearby place. That makes us very happy,” he says.
Receiving the Red Dot Award and other accolades
Gaurav explains the feeling of receiving accolades like being rated among the Top Ten Medtech Startups in India; IITPL was the Winner of DoP `Medical Device Company of the Year’ Award, Good Design Award, CII Top 25 Innovative Companies Award, Red Dot Award, and CII Industrial Design Excellence Award, “It is a great feeling and immense satisfaction that our vision is translating into reality and making cardiovascular care accessible. It is also looked at positively not only by the Indian community but also by the international community so I will tell you that we have been awarded which is called the ‘Oscars of the good industry design’ that is the Red Dot Award. We are the 3rd company all across India and only company in Asia to have won this award. Then we also awarded the Good Design Award by the Ministry of Japan and we know that Japan is one of the most stringent in terms of quality standards and it was very heartening to see an Indian company winning an award from the Government of Japan. The most prestigious and the one we are very proud of is by the ‘Government of India Medical Device Company of the Year’ we are probably the youngest company to have won this honor and we are deeply satisfied why we make heart care more accessible and affordable to Indians our work and our quality is getting recognized not only in India but also in some of the best countries in the world,” he says.
Designed a ventilator in 33 days with IIT Bombay
Gaurav puts forth his views on embracing the new normal, “I have a very different take on this and a leader of mine who I truly admire said - Companies or the people who go the farthest are not those who are the smartest or the sharpest or the most innovative, they are the companies or people that are most adaptable and I think India has truly lived up to that adage. In the month of April when the COVID pandemic hit us, the country had almost nil capacity of PPE masks, sanitizers, N95 masks, ventilators, basically all the things that were needed to fight the COVID battle, come August and we have an export surplus in almost all of these categories. In fact, in the case of PPE masks and sanitizers, we are the largest manufacturers in Asia if not the world.
As we say ‘Necessity is the mother of all Invention’ so the ‘Atma-Nirbhar Bharat’ campaign got a huge boost due to COVID. I do not see COVID as a negative and we as a company too stepped up the palette, we are a cardiac care company and we ventured into respiratory science, we were asked by the Government to develop ventilators given our strong capabilities in medical electronics and we tied up with IIT Bombay and designed a ventilator in 33 days flat and went on to win the MG motors ventilator innovators challenge from 52 other ventilators innovators and in the last 4 months we have only done testing, validation, a quality improvement on the designed ventilators we have made sure that it conforms to all national and international standards and today we have launched it,” he says. Gaurav goes on to explain, “The second part is, why we have very well risen to the challenge is that ‘Atma Samman’ is as important as being ‘Atma Nirbhar’. So whatever we build has to be of the highest quality. It needs to think local but acts global 87% of the medical devices market exists outside India and I truly believe that India needs to make in India for the world,” he says.
India’s time has arrived in terms of medical devices
Gaurav advises that “My personal thoughts to the readers are - I am a biomedical engineer and I take a lot of pride in saying that there are a lot of institutes that provide very high-quality biomedical engineering courses and institutions of excellence that have bio incubators, so my message to all innovators, entrepreneurs in the biomedical devices industry would be I think India’s time has arrived in terms of medical devices. 20 years ago Indian pharmaceuticals industry started that journey and all of us know that Indian pharmaceuticals have a top slot in the Indian arena and now medical devices slot has come and in the next 10 – 15 years you will see a lot of medical devices will be built in India for the world. For all the biomedical engineers in the world who are reading this, I would advise you all to chase your dream and make sure you tie-up with the industry and a funding agency, the environment is extremely enabling and I am sure if you can build something in India that is for the world, the sky's the limit and this is the time. In any capacity that we can help, we would be more than happy to support the vocal for a local cause,” he says.
(Edited by Rabia Mistry Mulla)