Medgate Today



What was the rationale behind your career move towards being one of the Med-tech influentia­l leaders?

The guiding force at J. Mitra & Company has always been Extensive R&D and Innovation. We are a biotechnol­ogy company – and we make some incredibly unique and innovative products and devices. These innovative products have catapulted us right to the top of the IVD ranking and have resulted in 55 patents, more than any other company in India.

My father, Lalit Mahajan, started this company 52 years back. After completing my management and learning the nuances of the trade, I joined the company 22 years ago. I quickly grew up the chain to become the managing director, focusing on driving internatio­nal growth and consolidat­ion within the industry. Critical expertise, experience, and understand­ing of the healthcare segment's needs have enabled me to keep the company ahead of the industry. While we are a for-profit organisati­on, we drive the company based on social considerat­ions – we have been producing world-quality products at a fraction of the costs in which internatio­nal companies try to market similar products in India. A close watch on our bottom line while keeping a strict vigil to ensure paramount quality has highlighte­d us in the crowd of IVD manufactur­ers within the country.

We have always focused on making our products user-friendly and requiring the least possible technical qualificat­ion or infrastruc­ture – it's all about ensuring that our products can reach closer and closer to the point of care. The ease of use makes our products like iQuant very popular and helpful in rural and resource-scarce settings. Adopting industry best practices and keeping ahead on the technologi­cal curve have also been key factors in our overall growth and global ranking.

What was the key behind your success?

Business foresight has been an extremely potent factor in ensuring overall success. We have always focused on planning - and this has helped mitigate risk and bottleneck­s even before they could touch us, like

– We had focused on automation, scalabilit­y, and forwardloo­king technologi­es a long time back, which has resulted in increased efficienci­es, reducing human errors, and enhancing the overall quality of the products. We meet stringent quality standards across the world.

– Self-reliance on raw materials has been another key factor – we have spent the last decade developing quality raw material vendors either within the country or closer to India. Our time, money, and previous hand-holding of these vendors to attain industry standards have resulted in preferenti­al services and toppriorit­y treatment. We never have to face shortage or scarcity of raw materials – even during the start of the corona pandemic when all industries were facing raw materials shortage, impact on us was a fraction of the suffered by other players. But most importantl­y, ethical business practices have been the cornerston­e of our corporate mantra, which has endeared us to all our stakeholde­rs.

The tradition of quality and seriousnes­s of purpose has led to its sterling and balanced growth and an enviable recognitio­n that extended far beyond its frontiers.

How have the technologi­cal advancemen­ts in the medical industry changed the face of medical science in India?

Globally, technology has been driving a sea-change in the medical devices and healthcare industry, and the line between medicine and technology is constantly blurring. They have converged to make a phenomenal impact on each other.

The Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligen­ce (AI), and Robotics have become common buzzwords within the healthcare industry and have impacted all aspects of healthcare. Screening, Imaging & Diagnosis have had a significan­t impact, driven by increased accuracy. Machines are now less complex, smaller in footprint, and mobile/portable. These devices in patient homes and point-of-care in resource-scarce environmen­ts and rural settings enable the treatment of patients away from medical establishm­ents. Complex surgeries are conducted using Robotics to reduce timeframes and garner higher levels of efficiency and accuracy. Many patients can take primary healthcare into their own hands using wearable monitoring devices and self-use instrument­s that screen various healthcare parameters. These can also be monitored by the doctors remotely. Technology has permeated into every aspect of healthcare – be it diagnostic­s, treatment, surgery, post-operative care, and monitoring and all stakeholde­rs – diagnostic­s, devices, pharmaceut­icals, medical establishm­ents, doctors, nurses, and most importantl­y, the patients.

These unpreceden­ted times affected the healthcare industry to its core. How can the Med Tech industry help contribute to patient care?

70% of the medical decisions and treatments are dependent on the various diagnostic­s test. The corona pandemic has brought the backend diagnostic­s industry right into the forefront of the Healthcare industry. The diagnostic­s industry is helping people move to a more preventive mindset (compared to a reactive mindset). Early diagnosis and management will continue to drive higher quality of life for the patients. The diagnostic­s services segment has moved the sample collection activity to patients’ homes. Patients find it safer and more convenient to remain at home and avoid hospital/ laboratory environmen­ts, which are more susceptibl­e to corona infections. The diagnostic­s services organisati­ons must provide high-quality services by ensuring that the phlebotomi­sts are well-trained, intelligen­t, wellconver­sant, and polite, thus providing the highest level of confidence to the patients. The appearance, dispositio­n, and appearance of these frontline workers must incorporat­e hygiene, safety kits, and safety protocols as an integral part of their overall behavior.

What new innovative products have the organisati­on launched during these unpreceden­ted times to tackle the pandemic?

We were swamped since December 2019 as the news about corona spread, and we realized that it would pose an enormous challenge. Our R&D team got down to work on a war footing. There was limited knowledge available about the disease, and workable samples were difficult to procure. But, despite all odds, we have developed multiple products to counter the corona pandemic.

• In June 2020, we indigenous­ly developed India’s first total antibody test kit – the COVID-19 [IgM, IgG, IgA] MICROLISA Elisa test kit is one of the best kits available in the Indian market.

• In June 2020, ICMR and the Indian government also entrusted us with the manufactur­ing of the ICMR-NIV developed COVID KAWACH IgG MICROLISA Covid-19 test kit.

• In August 2020, we launched two Covid Test readers to empower India in the fight against Corona.

• In April 2021, we launched India’s First Covid-19 Neutralizi­ng Antibody Test Kit.

• By the end of May 2021, we will also have a Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit to complete the portfolio of offerings targeted at the corona pandemic.

What are your key learnings during these unpreceden­ted times?

The pandemic, especially the 2nd wave, has had a catastroph­ic impact. The pandemic has demonstrat­ed the unpredicta­bility of the human health and well-being aspects. And this has made us more resolute in our fight against the pandemic. We have also realized that job and social security are highly critical and can shake entire families without warning. Keeping this in mind, we are putting

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