Fortis eyes tie-ups with institutes for clinical research

Written by Soma Das | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 28 2010, 04:18am hrs
In a bid to strengthen its focus on clinical trials research, the country's second largest hospital chain, Fortis Healthcare Ltd is exploring the opportunities to tie-up with academic institutions. The company plans to hire around 200 personnel in its newly launched clinical trial research wing over the next one year. "We would add around 45-50 doctors and about 150 research associates within next 12 to 15 months," said Bhavdeep Singh, CEO, Fortis Healthcare.

The firm intends to utilise its network of 45 hospitals to pursue clinical trial research in therapeutic segments of oncology, neurology, nephrology and orthopaedics. Currently, Fortis mainly conducts clinical trials in cardiology and is headed by cardiologist Upendra Kaul. The Delhi-based Fortis Escorts Hospital would act as the nodal centre for the programme and would house the database of all the clinical trials that Fortis undertakes across the country. Fortis is in talks with many academic institutions including overseas universities. According to sources, the company is in advanced talks with US-based University of Utah for clinical trial partnership. University of Utah has expertise in cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and kidney disease.

After crossing its projected target of 6,000 beds and 40 hospitals two years in advance, the company aims to increase its revenue around five-fold in next 5 years to touch an annual revenue target of $1 billion. In response to an FE query on Friday on whether the company intends to revise its targets, Fortis Healthcare MD Shivinder Mohan Singh said, "For the fourth time in a row, we have set out a target for ourselves and achieved it much in advance. Today we have reached a size and scale, where setting targets in terms of beds and hospitals seem futile."

After completing the acquisition of 10 Wockhardt hospitals, Fortis group has reached a number of 5,000 functional beds with 1,600 beds in pipeline and owns around 45 hospitals. After having invested substantially in expansion, our objectives should shift on how we can leverage our investments to the best, improve our efficiencies and profitability. So our next goalpost should be specified more in terms of revenue targets. We hope to reach a billion dollar revenue in next five years. The dollar-rupee ratio would help us, he said. For the nine months period ended December 2009, Fortis. network revenue stood at Rs 808.2 crore.