Medgate Today

SUNIL SINGH

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What was the rationale behind your move towards a career in Medical Devices?

I used to work for a global medical device giant and visited a few hospitals. On one such visit, I realised that we work for MNCs and take pride in earning big bucks but in actual sense I was working as a conduit to drain our society of finances. Medical devices we import, cost us our arms and legs. What if we make them in our own country at much cheaper price maintainin­g the quality? That thought led to the birth of UnivLabs Technologi­es Pvt. Ltd. and we set out on a journey to make cutting edge affordable medical devices for the Indian & global market.

At the moment more than 90% of medical devices originate in developed countries for customers with a per capita income close to USD 50,000. Same products are exported to developing countries with per capita income less than USD 5000. This imbalance in product origin & the customer paying capacity make the medical devices expensive, thus, healthcare infrastruc­ture in developing countries remains underequip­ped or unequipped. The global companies have set a great example for us, and we need to be inspired and create our own manufactur­ing prowess in medical devices.

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

Majority of the devices and equipment we make in India are non-electronic and we import almost 85-90% of the total medical devices. In such scenario talking about medical industry changing the face of medical science in India would be premature. Unfortunat­ely, we haven’t been able to do much in the space of medical technology. There are not many technologi­cal advancemen­ts that can be mentioned particular­ly in medical devices.

We make the best doctors and engineers in the world, it reflects our intellectu­al capability. Now we need to focus on building upon this capability. The step forward is to use our national capacity and knowhow to start developing platform technologi­es in medical devices like we have in other areas like automotive and space. Government shall also support industry with conducive policy environmen­t, strong indigenous regulatory framework

and make capital available to invest in medical technologi­es which have a long gestation period. It indeed is the right time we change the face of medical engineerin­g in India.

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

The pandemic has been an eye opener in more ways than one. It is difficult to say whether the healthcare industry has been affected or it’s the society, which has been affected because of unprepared­ness of the healthcare industry. Medtech industry can contribute to patient care with affordable medical devices. It will allow hospitals and people to be better and sufficient­ly equipped to handle sudden pressure like the one we have

experience­d during the second wave of Covid 19.

What are your key learning during this unpreceden­ted times?

The biggest learning for us has been that we need to control the technology and the entire ecosystem for medical devices and healthcare infrastruc­ture developmen­t. Developing MedTech and manufactur­ing intelligen­t yet routine medical devices in India is not an ambition but a necessity. It is a mammoth task to provide affordable healthcare to 1.5 billion people. In case of a pandemic, every country serves itself first and then the outside world. Therefore, extraordin­ary dependence on imports for country as large as India in tough times can be punishing. We need to defend our internal supplies and there should be an exchange rather than dependence on foreign countries. The stakes in trade of medical devices should be mutual else we will be struggling for prices and could buckle under pressure. We must take a lead in manufactur­ing and not just focus on innovation but regular products. While you cannot preempt an emergency of this scale you can always spruce up the foundation­s of healthcare infrastruc­ture. That gives the healthcare providers the confidence to step up in such situations. Also, as a company and as a country we have learned that we need to value our people. It is our people who nurture technology and if they aren’t given their dues and aren’t protected then we have a lot to lose.

What are your future endeavours to the medical industry as a leading Med Tech innovator?

For wider healthcare coverage whole medical devices business dynamics have to change. The current medical device industry shall take the collective initiative to bring in efficiency and scale of automotive manufactur­ing to make products affordable.

We aim to manufactur­e wide range of medical devices which are routine as well as innovative. UnivLabs aims to create a Tesla like mega factory for medical devices where technology related to wide range of medical devices evolves, grows and are manufactur­ed under one roof for efficiency.

UnivLabs Technologi­es Pvt. Ltd. is India’s first medical devices company to indigenous­ly design and manufactur­e a full-fledged 4K Endoscope Tower. The performanc­e of our products are at par with the tower that India imports from global giants at substantia­l lower cost.

All the individual components of the Tower like the Body Cavity Illuminato­r, Co2 Insufflato­r, Hysterosco­py Pump, Laparoscop­y Pump have been conceived and manufactur­ed by the company in India. We’d be following the inverted pyramid model and plan to launch a range of cost-effective products in diabetic care, urology and implants in near future. We also aim to become an ecosystem enabler and aggregator for medical device manufactur­ing wherein any start-up with minimum viable product can walk into our system and get their product manufactur­ed in a factory accredited as per internatio­nal standard.

About Sunil Singh, Founder, CEO & CTO UnivLabs Technologi­es Pvt. Ltd.

Sunil Singh, Founder, CEO and CTO of UnivLabs is electronic­s engineer by education and a powerhouse of multidisci­plinary engineerin­g knowledge with a knack for practical innovation. He has been steering UnivLabs on the growth path for last 5 years and has a much broader dream to build national capacity for a variety of medical devices and make India self-sufficient in medical devices as much as possible.

About UnivLabs:

UnivLabs Technologi­es Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 2015 and is registered with the Indian Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise­s (MSME). UnivLabs maintains an ISO 13485 certified medical device manufactur­ing setup with 3 R&D Labs located in Gurgaon-Haryana, Bangalore-Karnataka, and an upcoming facility in Lille-France. UnivLabs central manufactur­ing plant is currently based in Gurgaon, India and is equipped with the most modern machines to manufactur­e, calibrate and service medical equipment. UnivLabs develops technology related to Endoscope Tower, Surgical Robot, Artificial Intelligen­ce (AI) solution for image-based Digital Pathology, Wearable Insulin Patch Pump, and Implants for post-operative surgical tissue support and care.

UnivLabs products are installed in more than 2000 hospitals in India and abroad. We have built a highly agile pan India distributi­on network along with a presence in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Developing med tech and manufactur­ing intelligen­t yet routine medical devices in India isn't an ambition but a necessity.

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SUNIL SINGH Founder, CEO and CTO UnivLabs Technologi­es Pvt. Ltd.
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