Swedish medtech company Elekta sees smaller cities driving growth

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MUMBAI: Elekta, the Swedish medtech company that makes radiation therapy equipment for treating cancers and neurological disorders, is betting big on India. The company sees an acceleration of demand for linear accelerator (LINAC) machines led by expansion of cancer care to tier-2 and tier-3 cities and towns in both the private and public sector.

LINACs are machines that use high-energy radiation to pinpoint and destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy can treat many different types of cancer. It can also be used in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and/or surgery.

“India is clearly the biggest focus when it comes to the Elekta global scheme of things,” said Manikandan Bala, managing director and senior vice-president of Asia-Pacific region, in an interview to ET.

“We are anticipating a huge growth in the next few years. We have doubled the installed base in the last five years, we would anticipate much higher growth going forward,” Bala added. India has around 670-700 installed LINAC units, while as per World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation it would need double that number.

WHO recommends that each country should have at least one radiation therapy equipment per million population. While the American Cancer Society (ACS) notes that more than half the people with cancer receive radiation therapy, in India the number is 20-25%. Bala said things are changing, as both the private sector and government are expanding cancer care.

For instance, Elekta has partnered with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to install 21 equipment across various centres, and is preparing to install another 11 units and expects tenders for additional installations. A number of state governments are also installing LINAC machines and are using public private partnership models to set up new centres.

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