August 25, 2010

Apollo Hospitals to set up stem cell facility

Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., is focusing on stem cell therapy. The company, tied up with USbased StemCyte today and would together invest $15 million to set up a stem cell facility besides conducting research development activities at its Hyderabad centre.

Stem cells can be sourced from umbilical cord blood and bone marrow and are used in medical therapies. They can be grown and transformed into specialised cells for future therapies.
"The idea is to undertake intensive research and provide personalised medicine in future for patients. It's a 50:50 joint venture and will carry out research in several areas including chronic stroke, spinal cord injury and muscular dystrophy," said Dr Pratap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group.

While phase I involves $15 million, both companies would pump in capital as required.
The upcoming facility, which will focus on stem cell culturing, trials and research, will be the fourth such unit for StemCyte. It currently has three facilities, one each in the US, HongKong and South Korea. Apollo also said it has also tied up with Quintiles to start clinical trials unit at Apollo Health City in Hyderabad. It had earlier announced $10 million investment in this venture. The company is waiting for regulatory approvals to conduct first in human (FIH) studies.

Apollo is also conducting a study to assess the reasons for widespread CardioVascular Diseases (CVDs) in India. "Many young patients these days are prone to cardiac arrests. We want to assess why Indians are predisposed to cardiovascular diseases at an younger age," said Reddy adding that Apollo performed 9,800 cardiac surgeries last year alone. The hospital chain is working with the Institute of Genetic Engineering and Integrative Biology and National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in this regard. As part of its 2014 growth strategy, Apollo will invest Rs 2,200 crore to create 3,000 new beds.

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