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Driving innovation in the Indian IVD industry

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Jatin Mahajan, MD, J Mitra & Company talks about innovation and revolution of Indian IVD industry and role of J Mitra & Company in driving this change

The Indian IVD industry has grown in leaps and bound in the past couple of decades. As a result, the Indian IVD industry is playing a critical role in the international arena, providing quality and cost-effective IVD solutions to countries across all the continents, including the Americas and Europe.

But the story was completely different 50-60 years back. India was then a developing nation that met most of its requirements by way of imports. In the post-independence era, India was largely dependent on foreign IVD companies. India was an agrarian-based economy, and the government policy was skewed towards foreign direct investment and trade liberalisation. India, then, did not have the capabilities to sustain the domestic demands through domestic Indian companies. Driven by a profiteering mindset, foreign multi-national companies would dump high-cost, low-quality products in the Indian market. The absence of stringent regulations and quality control made India a very lucrative market for these unscrupulous companies.

The visionary Lalit Mahajan was quick to notice the quality gap and pricing anomalies. Armed with an engineering degree and a social mindset, Lalit Mahajan was keen to see India self-sufficient. He decided to play a decisive role in making India self-reliant in this arena. Driven by a social entrepreneurial mindset, an innovative streak, and a go-getter attitude, Lalit Mahajan decided to work towards a more self-reliant endeavor to change the IVD landscape in the country. He incorporated J Mitra & Company as a research-based biotechnology company. He was not interested in license manufacturing for MNC companies but instead wanted to develop products in India that catered to the domestic and global market. Rather than riding the wave, Lalit Mahajan was more interested in taking the risk and setting the trend.

Lalit Mahajan, a young engineer and budding entrepreneur resolved to develop and manufacture high-quality, low-cost IVD solutions. The immunology segment in the rapid test format in India was limited to pregnancy tests. J Mitra decided to change all this. It was the first Indian company to procure drug manufacturing licenses from the Indian government for critical tests in Rapid and Elisa formats like HIV, HCV, and HBV. J Mitra & co-pioneered the development, manufacturing, and marketing of IVD test kits. J Mitra introduced a range of tests for infectious diseases like Dengue, Malaria, HIV, HBV, HCV, Typhoid, Leptospira in rapid and ELISA test formats, and anti-Sera products and confirmatory tests like Western Blot for HIV. J Mitra has several products that are still global No. 1 after 10-20 years of their launch. Driven by extensive R&D, these products meet and exceed all the international quality certifications.

The success of J Mitra & Company drew more and more domestic companies into the IVD business, and today India is the most vital global supplier of IVD solutions. India has also become the international center for frugal medical devices engineering.

The Indian IND (in-vitro diagnostics) market is slated to reach approximately USD 2 billion in 2026, from its current revenues of USD 1.3 billion. India’s immunochemistry revenue accounts for the largest market share (i.e., 40%) of IVD revenue in India, followed by the clinical chemistry and hematology market. The IVD industry has showcased stellar performance, especially in the last 30 odd years, and this has resulted in India attaining the top spot on the global IVD map.

The Indian  in-vitro diagnostics market is highly robust. The entire focus has been towards supporting the creation of an innovation-driven ecosystem for resource-poor settings. The industry’s efforts towards developing tests and analyzer platforms are driven by the need for precision and reliability, domestic production (self-reliant), affordability, and reaching closer to point-of-care.

The factors that catalyze the Indian IVD market’s innovative spirit are an increase of chronic diseases, a focus on point-of-care (POC) diagnostics, and rising awareness and acceptance of personalized medicine and companion diagnostics.

For J Mitra & Company, the vision is quality healthcare for all driven by the urge to catalyze higher quality of life through early detection of diseases and ailments.

Healthcare transcends society across geographies & regions, age categories, social strata, cultural aspects, and time-period considerations. Every human yearns for the absolute best health and long life.

Diagnostics serve the crucial task of improving health and quality of life. It is based on the 3 A’s – Equitable accessibility, affordability, and appropriate use of good quality diagnostics are integral to high-quality health care. Precise diagnostics are essential for the effective management of diseases. These result in improved patient care and clinical outcomes and thus increases affordability due to the overall reduced cost of treatment.

Indian diagnostics are the best globally in terms of quality, precision, and affordability. And efforts are on to make them more cost-effective and ensure availability in the remotest corners and villages.

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