Healthcare Global Enterprises lists at big discount to its issue price

The smooth ride of healthcare stocks might have come to a halt with the listing of Bengaluru-based HealthCare Global Enterprises (HCG), an oncology chain that received a cold shoulder from the markets on its listing day.

The stock listed much below its issue price as market sentiment and an oversupply of IPOs in the space might have taken the sheen off, say industry analysts.

HCG opened at Rs 210, which is the lower end of the issue’s price band of Rs 208-218, however, towards the end of the day, it tanked 19% to close at Rs 171 on the BSE despite a strong broader market.

“The market sentiment towards pharma and healthcare stock is bad right now,” said Daljit Singh, head of research at brokerage firm India Nivesh. “Also, there is an oversupply of healthcare IPOs.”

HCG, which operates the largest chain of oncology hospitals in India, has marque investors like Premji Investments and Temasek, among others. The company has raised Rs 650 crore through the IPO.

A part of the sum would be used to pay the company’s debt. The issue was oversubscribed by 1.6x. Lack of interest from investors for HCG is surprising as its peers which were listed few months ago had received a thumping response.

Narayana Hrudayalaya, which operates in a similar business as HCG had jumped over 30% on the day of its listing in January. One of the investment bankers that advised HCG said that they might have got the timing wrong.

“It is yearend, so different funds would have had different priorities, but once the market sees the quarterly earnings, the stock will pick up,” said the head of an investment bank who did not wish to be named.


Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 31st March, 2016.

Indian-led team of doctors develops technology to monitor cancer treatment

A team of Indian scientists from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School have made an important breakthrough by developing a nano-technology which will help monitor the effectiveness of cancer therapy within hours of treatment.

“We have developed a nanotechnology, which first delivers an anticancer drug specifically to the tumour, and if the tumour starts dying or regressing, it then starts lighting up the tumour in real time,” said Shiladitya Sen Gupta, a principal investigator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

“This way you can monitor whether a chemotherapy is working or not in real time, and switch the patients to the right drug early on. One doesn’t need to wait for months while taking a toxic chemotherapy only to realise later and after side effects that the drug hasn’t worked,” Gupta, a co-corresponding author of the breakthrough research published online this week in ‘The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, told PTI.

The first author of the paper is Ashish Kulkarni, who comes from a small village in Maharashtra. A junior faculty at Harvard, Kulkarni trained as a Chemical Engineer at ICT Mumbai, then did a PhD in chemistry at the University of Cincinnati.

Kulkarni said by using this approach, the cells light up the moment a cancer drug starts working.

“We can determine if a cancer therapy is effective within hours of treatment. Our long-term goal is to find a way to monitor outcomes very early so that we don’t give a chemotherapy drug to patients who are not responding to it,” he said.

“We’ve demonstrated that this technique can help us directly visualise and measure the responsiveness of tumours to both types of drugs,” Kulkarni said.

Other members of the research team are Poornima Rao, Siva Natarajana, Aaron Goldman, Venkata S Sabbisetti, Yashika Khater, Navya Korimerla, Vineethkrishna Chandrasekara and Raghunath A Mashelkar.

Except Goldman, all are Indian researchers.

“Current techniques, which rely on measurements of the size or metabolic state of the tumour, are sometimes unable to detect the effectiveness of an immunotherapeutic agent as the volume of the tumour may actually increase as immune cells begin to flood in to attack the tumour,” Kulkarni said.

He said reporter nanoparticles, however, can give “us an accurate read out of whether or not cancer cells are dying”.

The technology developed by the group can be used for monitoring the effectiveness of immunotherapy, a report said.

Using a nanoparticle that delivers a drug and then fluoresces green when cancer cells begin dying, they were able to visualise whether a tumour is resistant or susceptible to a particular treatment much sooner than currently available clinical methods, said a statement from BWH.


Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 29th March, 2016.

India’s total insured losses at $1 bn in 2015: Swiss Re

MUMBAI: Even as the country’s total economic losses from natural and man-made disasters exceeded $6.2 billion in 2015, the total insured losses were at just $1 billion, says a report.

According to a sigma study by Swiss Re, total economic losses from all disasters, including natural and man-made events, exceeded $6.2 billion or 6.8 per cent of the global losses in 2015.

However, it was down from $13.4 billion or 11.9 per cent of global losses in 2014, it added.

In India, uninsured losses from all catastrophes and man-made disasters were 84 per cent of the total losses in 2015, down from 93 per cent in 2014.

Total insured losses in India were $1 billion, up from $971 million the year before.

There were 25 catastrophic events in India last year, up from 20 in 2014, including the severe flash floods in Chennai in November that caused an estimated loss of $2.2 billion.

Insured losses were estimated at around $755 million, making these floods the second costliest insurance event in the country, according to sigma records.

Although the protection gap was smaller last year than in 2014, it was still very high relative to global and regional standards, the report pointed out.

The global protection gap was around 60 per cent in 2015, down from 68 per cent in 2014.

In Asia, the gap was at 81 per cent in 2015, down from 90 per cent in 2014.

The Swiss Re Group is a wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer.

Source: Economic  Times

Date: 31/03/2016

Sun Pharma acquires 14 brands from Novartis for $293m

Drug major Sun Pharma has forayed into the Japanese prescription market by acquiring 14 brands from Swiss drug firm Novartis for $293 million (over Rs 1,940 crore).

According to the agreements signed by the parties, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sun Pharma will acquire the portfolio consisting of 14 established prescription brands from Novartis for a cash consideration of $293 million, Sun Pharma said in a statement.

“Japan is a market of strategic interest for us. This acquisition marks Sun Pharma’s foray into the Japanese prescription market and provides us an opportunity to build a larger product portfolio in the future,” Sun Pharma managing director Dilip Shanghvi said.

Under the terms of the agreements, Novartis will continue to distribute these brands, for a certain period, pending transfer of all marketing authorisations to Sun Pharma’s subsidiary, it added.

The acquired brands will be marketed by a reliable and established local marketing partner under the Sun Pharma label.


Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 30th March, 2016.

ICICI Lombard launches e-platform to provide info on healthcare treatment

ICICI Lombard General Insurance,the largest private sector general insurer in the country, on Tuesday has launched ICICI Lombard Healthcare a unique, web enabled platform that allows consumers to get answers to critical questions pertaining to healthcare providers and treatment beforehand.


The insurer has created a hospital and consumer feedback based rating mechanism wherein consumers can get treatment related details and gain from actual experience from patients for over 1,000 hospitals across primary, secondary and tertiary segments.


Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Bhargav Dasgupta, MD & CEO, ICICI Lombard General Insurance said: “ To help our customers take informed decisions, we have taken the initiative to build a comprehensive information and ratings framework through the Health Advisor platform. For this, we have harnessed our access to healthcare providers and collatedfeedback from a large set of customers to build a robust platform.”


Any individual can gain access to critical information and queries pertaining to healthcare treatment and hospitals, including:

  • Compare cost of treatment for a particular ailment among hospitals.
  • Compare quality of care for a particular ailment among hospitals.
  • Compare hospitals on the basis of infrastructure, room and procedure costs.
  • Seek customer feedback and ratings on hospitals with authentication.
  • Seek help in terms of obtaining appointments at the hospital of their choice.

ICICI Lombard Health Advisor provides information on more than 30 treatment procedures, which have been selected on the basis of incidence rate. The procedures include removal of appendix, hernia, piles etc. It also provides information on bypass surgery, cataract operation, knee replacement surgery etc.


To ensure robustness of the platform, ICICI Lombard haspartnered with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to identify qualityindicators to compare healthcare providers in the Indian context.


Source : AIP News Bureau

Date: 29-03-2016

Dr Reddy’s signs US licensing agreement with XenoPort

Drug major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has entered into a US licensing pact with XenoPort for the development and commercialization of latter’s clinical-stage oral new chemical entity XP23829.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will pay an upfront fee of USD 50 million (Rs 335 crore) to XenoPort and up to USD 440 million (Rs 2,935 crore) on achievement of certain milestones.

“Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and XenoPort, Inc have entered into a license agreement pursuant to which the company will be granted exclusive US rights for the development and commercialisation of XenoPort’sclinical-stage oral new chemical entity — XP23829,” the company said in a BSE filing today.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said it is planning to develop XP23829 as a potential treatment for moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis and may potentially develop XP23829 for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Elaborating on the payment, it said, “Under the terms of the agreement, the company will receive exclusive US rights to develop and commercialize XP23829 for all indications. In exchange for these rights, XenoPort will receive a USD 47.5 million upfront payment and an additional USD 2.5 million for transfer of certain clinical trial materials to the company.”

“XenoPort will also be eligible to receive up to USD 190 million upon the achievement by the company of certain regulatory milestones which could be achieved over a period of several years. In addition, XenoPort will be eligible to receive up to USD 250 million upon the achievement of commercial milestones and up to mid-teens royalty payments based on potential net sales of XP23829 in the US,” the company added.

“XP23829 complements our internal development efforts, which have primarily focused on the mild-to-moderate psoriasis segment to date. In other markets, fumarates have been used as first-line choices of treatment prior to initiation of biologic therapies in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis.”

“We intend to initiate the registration programme for XP23829 as soon as feasible so that we can accelerate the availability of this important treatment choice for moderate-to-severe psoriasis patients in the US market,” Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Executive Vice President, Proprietary Products Group, Raghav Chari, said.

The agreement is subject to review by the US government under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act, as amended, and will become effective only after clearing HSR review.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories’ shares were trading at Rs 3,047 apiece, down 0.01 per cent in the morning trade on the BSE.


Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 28th March, 2016.

Glenmark gets two ANDA approvals from USFDA

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has received final approval from the US health regulator USFDA for oral contraceptives and leukemia treatment injection.

“Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc, USA has been granted final approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol… and for levonorgestrel tablets,” it said in a BSE filing.

Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol are generic version of Bayer Healthcare’s Yasmin tablets and levonorgestrel tablets is generic version of Teva Branded Pharmaceutical Products’ Plan B one-Step tablets.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said it also got USFDA’s final approval for bendamustine hydrochloride injection, therapeutic equivalent to Cephalon, Inc’s Treanda.

Treanda is used for treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

“Today marks Glenmark’s first injectable granted approval by the USFDA,” the company said.

Glenmark said under the terms of prior settlement agreement, it will be able to launch bendamustine hydrochloride injection on November 1, 2019, or earlier under certain circumstances.

“Glenmark was one of the first ANDA(Abbreviated New Drug Applications) applicants to submit a substantially complete ANDA with paragraph IV certification, therefore, Glenmark may be eligible for 180 days of marketing exclusivity for bendamustine hydrochloride for injection, 25 mg/vial and 100 mg/vial,” it added.

According to IMS Health sales data for the 12 months to January 2016, Glenmark said Treanda achieved annual sales of around USD 92.6 million.

As per IMS data, Yasmin tablets achieved annual sales of around USD 131.7 million and Plan B one-Step tablets achieved annual sales of around USD 45.2 million for the 12 months period ended January 2016.

The company’s current portfolio consists of 112 products authorised for distribution in the US marketplace and 57 ANDA pending approval with the USFDA.

Shares of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals were trading 0.64 per cent up, at Rs 827.35 in the morning trade on BSE.


Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 29th March, 2016.

PSU Insurers Keen on Strategic Sale

Move is aimed at arriving at a valuation before going for IPOs

Finance minister Arun Jaitley may have cleared the way for public listing of state owned general insurers, but National Insurance and New India Assurance may first go for strategic stake sale to arrive at a valuation before their initial public offerings.

K Sanath Kumar, chairman and managing director at National Insurance Company , said the firm is ready for listing and is awaiting formal instructions from the government.“There are three ways of doing it -first is strategic stake sale, second is listing to evaluate valuation and third is to raise additional capital,“ he said.

A senior executive of New India Assurance said, “We have not decided on the quantum but we want to explore the idea of strategic stake sale.“

The official, who requested not to be named, said the company is waiting for directions from the government on how to go ahead with listing. “We would like to be the open many more branches and for which we need capital.“

The finance minister had in his budget speech last month proposed to list New India Assurance, National Insurance, United India and Oriental Insurance and reinsurance company General Insurance Corporation.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act 2015 enables the government to dilute equity stakes in PSU insurance companies by up to 51% to raise capital, keeping in view the need for expansion of the business.

Disinvestment is expected to bring in underwriting discipline in the general insurance sector. Today, companies only generate investment profit. The public sector insurers’ losses increased by 22.57% to Rs 6,592 crore in 2014-15 from Rs 5,379 crore in 2013-14.


Source:-The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Date:-29th March,2016

EFFECTIVE FOR 2016-17 – Third-party motor cover to cost up to 40% more

Car insurance has become costlier with the insurance regulator IRDAI hiking thirdparty premium rates by as much as 40% for 2016-17. Even for highend cars, which are generally considered safer, more eco-friendly and fuel-efficient, premium rates have been increased by 25% to Rs 6,164.

TOI had reported about the impending hike in its March 8 edition. Every year, the IRDAI revises the premium rates, taking into account the number of claims made and loss ratios for insurers. Motor thirdparty insurance is mandatory for all vehicles and covers liability arising from third-party claims due to accidents.

For cars below 1,000cc (like Alto, Nano and Kwid) the premium has risen by 40% to Rs 2,055, while for compact or B segment cars (1,000-1,500cc) the increase is 40% to Rs 2,237. For sedans, the regulator has increased it by 25%.

Premium for two-wheeler insurance for bikes below 75cc and between 75-150cc has been increased on average by 9.6% and 15% to Rs 569 and Rs 619, respectively .For premium bike models between 150-350cc, the IRDAI has hiked rates by 25%. Surprisingly , for super bikes that are above 350cc, the regulator has slashed premium rates by 10%.

The only other vehicle category for which premium rates have been lowered is goods-carrying private vehicle carriers below 7,500kg -by 10% to Rs 7,849. For private autos, excluding e-carts, rates have gone up by only 3.2% to Rs 4,200. IRDAI has not increased premium rates only for public goods-carrying vehicles below 7,500kg and those between 7,500-12,000kg and has maintained premiums at Rs 14,390 and Rs 15,365, respectively.

Source:-The Economic Times

Date:-29th March,2016

Being an employee is good for your health too!

As talent pools in India start to shrink, the employee, regardless of the industry, has become the most valued asset for any organization. As the landscape gets more competitive than ever, this premium attached to an employee is only likely to increase, especially in light of the flourishing start up ecosystem in India. Employers are getting increasingly innovative in the ways they choose to attract and retain new talent. In this setting, offering a competitive salary package is only one part of the employee retention puzzle. The bar is being set at a new level when it comes to employee benefits, and health has become one of the biggest areas of change.

For progressive companies, health benefits are no longer just about healthcare in the form of health insurance and health covers that extend to the employees immediate family. Companies today, have started sweetening the deal by going above and beyond the plain vanilla health cover offering and are more focused on the wellness of their employees. This change would become even more important as the annual salary increment for employees in India falls in line with other emerging economies.More inclined towards a preventative and wellness approach to health; employers are beginning to offer innovative wellness programs such as cashless OPD covers, Onsite Health camps & Clinics, Tele Doctor Service including Health Coaches and even Emergency Assistance programs.

Corporate healthcare benefits are no longer just limited to Annual and Executive Health checkups. Today, corporates want to offer care and disease management programs for their employees and their immediate families in order to alleviate any health concerns that might crop up as a result of hectic work and changing lifestyles in the urban space.

Some corporates have even gone as far as including doctor consultations on site at their workplaces and also holding quarterly or bi-monthly health talks that not only raises awareness for their employees for making better life choices for their employees but provides them with the convenience of getting a regular health check up within their work hours.

In fact a recent study conducted by Zinnov Research firm corroborates this growing trend. As per the ‘Employee Benefits Study 2015’ conducted by the firm across 40 companies in India, as many as 70% of the R & D centers in India conduct medical check-ups, 60% provide gym reimbursement, 45% have an in-house doctor and 42% conduct wellness talks.

Apart from the some of the above mentioned health related perks, employees today have the opportunity to enjoy down time while at work too, adding to their overall well being. It is not all uncommon to spot workplaces with fully stocked libraries, grocery ordering facilities, gaming spaces and even relaxation, yoga and meditation zones within their campuses. The list of perks geared towards an employee’s well being is truly an exhaustive one today. And it’s not just the physical health, but also their mental and emotional well being that has started gaining more traction. Corporates now realize that a happy employee is likely to be more productive too, and it’s not far from the truth. It has been found in various industry studies that the indirect costs of poor health, such as an absence from work and reduced work productivity, can result in two or three times the amount of direct medical costs for the corporates as well as increase the out of pocket expenditures of the employees themselves.

Corporates offering counseling programs, social fitness challenges & programs, nutritionist consultations & healthy eating incentives and even in house gyms or discounted gym memberships is not at all uncommon in today’s work environment. In fact, for employees with families many companies now regularly offer extend benefits, which include childcare facilities, paternity and extended or flexible maternity leaves, to make life easier for them to manage as they climb the ladder of success at their work place and manage a family all at the same time.

All these added benefits not only ensure a happy employee with increased productivity and output, but one that is healthy too, ultimately safeguarding and pushing down health costs for any organization. It is indeed a great time to be an employee as companies not only look after the health of their balance sheets but also of the people who contribute to their growth! It is no wonder then that the role of primary care service providers and aggregates has extended and morphed in order to augment this growing trend in the healthcare space. And it is a sector that is only likely to grow in the years to come. Not only for the better health of employees in corporates but also for every individual too! 

Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 27th March, 2016.