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SMT Aims to be One of Top-Three Stent Players in Europe, Eyes Tier-I Cities

Morgan Stanley and Samara Capital-backed cardiac stent manufacturer Sahajanand Medical Technologies (SMT) is banking on a recent global study, which showed that its Supraflex stents are clinically on a par with Abbott’s Xience stents, to aim for the top spot in the domestic market and also be among the top three players in Europe. Surat-based SMT is at present the No. 2 player in the ₹12-20 billion Indian stent market and has a less than 5 percent share in the international market. Ganesh P Sabat, chief executive officer of SMT, claimed the TALENT study showed that with Supraflex stents, there was a 61 percent less chance of repeat intervention compared to Abbott’s Xience. “There was a 3.1 percent chance of revision intervention with Abbott’s Xience while for SMT’s Supraflex it was around 1.2 percent,” Sabat said. The clinical trial, known as TALENT, had carried out a 1:1 comparison of ultra-thin, drug-eluting stent Supraflex with Xience family of stents from Abbott across the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria in 23 centers, covering about 1435 patients.

Upbeat about the results of the study, SMT now plans to approach clinicians in India to adopt the India-manufactured stent more widely. It draws more than 60 percent of its revenues from Tier- II and III cities. “Now we can challenge the MNCs even in the top cities and top hospitals in the country,” Sabat quipped. Market insiders claim SMT has a market share of 22 percent or so in the domestic cardiac stents market, whereas Abbott is the leader with a 25-30 percent share for the past couple of years. An e-mail sent to Abbott did not elicit a response. However, SMT has managed to grow its share from a 15-16 percent about a year ago to around 22 percent now at the expense of other multinational players, which lost their shares after stents were brought under price cap. Abbott discontinued its Alpine stents from the Xience family in April this year, and has not introduced the Xience Sierra stent in India. At present, Xpedition and Prime stents, under the Xience family, are available in India.

From a loss-making company in 2012-13, SMT has turned around its operations by tweaking business strategy (with focus on Tier-II and Tier- III markets and a direct distribution model). In 2017-18, the company posted revenues close to ₹4 billion. Meanwhile, having raised ₹3 billion from PE firms such as Morgan Stanley and Samara Capital, SMT now plans to put the funds to use to expand its production capacity in India and to build a commercial team for Europe. Europe is a tender market. “Our strategy is to be in the tendering process, and eventually we will reach out to individual hospitals armed with the results of this study and explain the efficacy of our products. We need to develop a team for Europe for logistics, customer care and branch offices. We aim to be among the top three players in Europe in three years,” Sabat claimed At present Abbott, Boston Scientific and Medtronic dominate the USD 1-billion European stents market. SMT exports to 65 countries, but has less than 5 percent market share in most of the international markets, where it is present. In India, it is planning to expand its stent-making capacity from a current 480,000 units per year to about a million and is scouting for land in Gujarat and Telangana for the project. – Business Standard

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