Healthtech Doubling Every Four-five Yrs, Progressive Momentum Likely: Lupin Digital Health's Siddharth Srinivasan
BW Healthcare World spoke to Siddharth Srinivasan, CEO, Lupin Digital Health to discuss the evolving scenario of digital therapeutic India, the growth in healthtech and exciting avenues in the healthtech space
Digital Therapeutics, famously known as DTx, is starting to kick off in India with various health and wellness companies venturing into delivering digital medical interventions to patients trying to manage and prevent diseases or conditions.
The Indian pharmaceutical giant Lupin in 2021 announced its entry into the DTx space with Lupin Digital Health which has launched its cardiac care program in India for patients of heart disease managing heart health through remote patient monitoring and dedicated clinical experts aiming to lower the risk of subsequent heart issues and rehospitalisation.
BW Healthcare World spoke to Siddharth Srinivasan, CEO, Lupin Digital Health to discuss the evolving scenario of digital therapeutic India, the growth healthtech sector and exciting avenues in the healthtech space.
How is digital therapeutics evolving in India? How much pace is it gathering?
Everyone realises that a patient cannot keep visiting the hospital, every time he has a small or a big issue. We have to be able to triage many of these issues to ensure that the patient's routine does not get disturbed, and that's where DTx or digital therapeutics comes in. Lupin digital health is a remote monitoring platform where we are able to monitor the vitals of a patient from the convenience of their home. And a cardiac rehab platform makes sure that their vitals come back into the normal range, therefore, their heart health significantly improves. We have other comorbidities like diabetes and renal issues that we end up tackling as well. All of these will be potential use cases for DTx.
The funding winter has hit the healthtech sector hard. Why do you think that has happened and do you see this trend changing anytime soon?
Funding winter is not limited to healthtech, it's a broader phenomenon linked to global macroeconomics. Interest rates are rising in the US which means that there will be a knock-on effect. One reason perhaps that healthtech may be more affected is the gestation period which is longer than other sectors. It takes longer for companies to establish a minimum viable product (MVP), take that to market get commercial success and generate return on investment (ROI).
When dealing with people's health, one first needs a product that is scientifically valid and passes regulatory hurdles, both in India and the US, and that itself takes a good amount of time normally taking anywhere between one to three years.
And thereafter comes the go-to-market or scale scenarios. Therefore, if the typical cycle that a financier would look at is maybe seven, or eight years that's extended to ten to twelve years in healthtech, which is why it perhaps has been affected more.
But if you look at fundamentally where we as a society spend, healthcare is going to be a very large area. And I think you will eventually see the optimism start coming back. Especially as DTx solutions and other digital health solutions start getting more acceptability and adoption. So that cycle for scaling may become shorter and shorter, because there is more adoption amongst hospitals amongst doctors once patients.
What is the level of growth or degrowth the health tech industry is witnessing at this point. What excites you about the future of healthtech in India?
According to the available data, revenues are still growing at 15 to 18 per cent of the compound annual growth rate (CAGR), essentially meaning that the sector is doubling every four to five years. I think it is adoption from the institutions that are part of the healthcare system such as hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies which excites me, the fact that they are adopting health tech essentially means that there is likely to be progressive momentum in this space.
Insurance companies are willing to take a bet on digital health as a preventative measure, something that can ensure that patients don't end up making claims. Hospitals want to build engagement with patients. Doctors feel that technology can play a supportive role. And of course, patients are excited because they are getting the same level of quality care sitting at home. So I think this is going to pick up and go to market is going to become easier as we go forward.
What are the bright spots in the healthtech industry which you think are gaining traction?
I believe chronic conditions are where perhaps the focus is for a lot of startups and it's obvious that India has the highest incidences of diabetes, cardiac issues, and respiratory issues among other challenges. I have been tracking a lot of startups that are coming up in this space, despite the fact that the funding may be limited. They are using this time to build new concepts and I think in the next year or in the next couple of years, one will see a lot of exciting ventures in this sector.