Indian medical devices maker Meril may have created ripples in the national discussion on cardiac stents and their pricing when it developed and launched its locally made bio-absorbable stent.

The Vapi-based company is now pushing ahead with a growth strategy that involves improving access to its products, down to the districtlevel, even as it strengthens its presence overseas, Meril Chief Executive Officer Vivek Shah told businessline. And these plans would be supported by a scale-up in manufacturing and hiring, he added.

Meril’s 100-micron “bio-resorbable scaffold” (BRS) is a non-metallic, non-permanent mesh that removes blocks in the artery and dissolves a few years later. And its local launch (early 2021) created a stir of sorts, coming just years after multinational Abbott had announced it’s decision to withdraw two of its stents including Absorb, a dissolvable stent (2017).

In fact, all of this had played out against the backdrop of a national discussion on cardiac stents, that lead to bare-metal and drug-eluting stents being brought under the Government’s price control. (Stents are wire-like meshes, inserted to remove blocks, largely in the heart.)

Meril’s bio-absorbable product “MeRes100” has been in use for over two years, in 2,500 surgeries, according to details provided by the company. And since the first-of-its-kind 100-micron BRS was an innovation, it did not come under price control, the CEO said. It is priced at about ₹1 lakh, he added.

Besides cardiac products including stents, Meril’s portfolio includes orthopedic implants (joint and hip replacement products) and endo-surgery (sutures, staplers) products, to name a few. Early last year, Warburg Pincus (through affiliate South Elm Investments BV) had agreed to invest $210 million for a minority stake in Micro Life Sciences Private Ltd (a parent organisation of Meril), the investor had then said.

Growth plans

Having spent time building confidence in the company’s innovative products, in the medical community, Shah says, the next five years will be a period of growth. Manufacturing would be scaledup at Vapi, and the overall headcount is also expected to increase, he added.

The ₹2400-crore Meril, established by the Bilakhia Group, was set up in 2006. Meril expects to add another 10 subsidiaries overseas by mid2024, taking the total to 35, the CEO said. It is also looking to set up more academies across the world, where professionals are exposed to medical technologies and can get acquainted with Meril’s products, he added.