Siemens Healthineers to invest ₹1,300 cr in Bengaluru innovation hub

Mumbai | Updated on October 20, 2020

Siemens Healthineers will invest ₹1,300 crore over five years in an innovation hub in Bengaluru, an investment that is its largest in India.

The innovation hub is one of four, the others being in the US, Germany and China. This is part of Siemens 2025 strategy and will include an addition of 1,800 digital talents in 10 years, said Peter Schardt, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, giving details of the India-centric plan.

Germany-based Siemens Healthineers is an independent company since its IPO two years ago, but parent company Siemens AG is a major shareholder, he said. Pointing out the increasing role for “precision medicine” in future, Schardt said, they had 65 products globally that are “enriched” by AI (artificial intelligence) and about 650 patents related to AI. Cyber security is an aspect that the hub will address, as it was no longer about keeping products and solutions safe, but also about keeping the customer-side of the ecosystem secure, he explained.

Gerd Hoefner, Senior Vice President Development Center and Managing Director, Siemens Healthcare Private Ltd, said, the innovation hub would delve into digital technologies including diagnostic automation, AI, cyber security and immersive technologies, among others. The medical devices company had to date invested about ₹3,000 crore in research and development in India and has about 2500 people, he said. The hub would look to support the different business lines of healthcare, he added.

Portability of devices has increasingly become important across the world to address access to medical technologies. Hoefner told Business Line that usability was something they always tried to integrate into their products. “All products developed out of R&D are global products,” he said. While products may be dedicated to the domestic market, they were also “local for global”, he pointed out.

The present Bengaluru factory produces Cios Fit C-arms and Somatom.go CT scanners. These entry-level systems are designed, developed, and made in India and are sold in South-East Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America, the company said, adding that they would expand the product portfolio to make products more affordable in more markets.

Opportunity scouting?

Siemens is presently looking to seal a $ 16 billion-plus deal to buy cancer-care technology company Varian in the United States, according to overseas reports.

During the pandemic, India has seen many domestic medical device companies emerge and thrive. On whether Siemens would scout for local opportunities to acquire, Hoefner said he “wouldn’t exclude it”, though it was a strategic decision dependant on the direction the company was taking.

Covid-19 solutions

About a week ago, Siemens launched its rapid antigen test kit in Europe and Vivek Kanade, Executive Vice President (India), Siemens Healthineers, said they were waiting for local approvals to bring it to India.

The company has brought in its test kits for Covid-19 and over 6 million PCR kits have been supplied to governments in Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and others, he said. It was also in the process of setting up capacities to produce kits and reagents, he added. Siemens had “last-mile” connectivity solutions that could be extended to the Government, if required, when rolling out a Covid-vaccine, when there is one, he added.

Published on October 20, 2020

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