PerkinElmer may invest over $100 million in India by 2022

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NEW DELHI: American health technology firm PerkinElmer may invest over $100 million in tie-ups with the government and acquisitions mainly in reproductive health by 2022. The company, which acquired one of India's largest providers of in-vitro diagnostic products earlier this year, is in talks with various government bodies and start-ups for potential investments. 

The firm is reaching out to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to invest in national programs like the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK)—the country's initiative aimed at early identification and intervention for children from birth to 18 years. RBSK covers defects at birth, deficiencies, diseases and delays in the child's development. 

It is also in "exploratory" talks for acquisitions of start-ups in areas like pre-natal and neo-natal health technologies, according to Prahlad Singh, PerkinElmer's diagnostics president. 

Over the next 3-5 years, the company is mulling investment of over $100 million in India for these purposes, according to him. 

"That is what we've invested (in the last 3-5 years) and, assuming the right opportunity shows up, that is what we'll be investing," Singh told ET. 

"The project we are discussing with the government is around newborn screening," he said. 

This includes a partnership to provide technical skills and "affordable" technology to the government's national newborn screening program, said Ruchi Sogarwal, PerkinElmer's deputy general manager for South Asia. 

She added that the firm is also in talks to invest in BIRAC's startup program. 

Only at most 10 lakh out of an estimated 2.7 crore newborns are screened in India every year, said Singh. Compared to this, nearly 89% of newborns in China and 75% in Sri Lanka are screened every year, according to him. The firm has already screened close to 2.5 lakh babies through pilot projects in states like Chandigarh and Lucknow over the last four years, according to Singh. 

The revenue opportunity in this market here is "decent", he added. 

The newborn screening market presents an opportunity of around Rs 500 crore to Rs 800 crore, an industry executive who did not wish to be named told ET. 

In January, PerkinElmer acquired Tulip Diagnostics Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount. Tulip, which makes and markets in-vitro diagnostic reagents and kits, has the second largest share of the fragmented Rs 3,000 crore in-vitro diagnostic reagent market at 8-10%, said Sogarwal. 

Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd has the largest share at 14-15%, she added. 

India contributes to roughly $100 million of PerkinElmer's global revenues, which was around $2.6 billion in 2016, said singh