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Lupin Digital to breach 10K customer-mark this year, hit profitability in 3-5 years: CEO Srinivasan

"The nature of cardiology is such that if you cover the top-20 cities and the nearby 70-100 towns, you’ve covered 85-90 per cent of all cardiologists"
Last Updated : 25 September 2023, 22:37 IST

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In FY23, homegrown pharmaceutical major Lupin Limited placed a Rs 100-crore bet on digital therapeutics for cardiac health via its wholly owned subsidiary Lupin Digital Health. “Lupin Digital is looking to predict and prevent heart attacks,” explained Chief Executive Sidharth Srinivasan to DH’s Shakshi Jain, delving into the digital entity’s vision, progress and plans going forward. Edited excerpts.

Tell us about the technology hub that was launched in Bengaluru earlier this month.

With the tech hub in Bangalore, the idea is to have a dedicated space and a team that is focused on not just incremental innovation, but sort of exponential change. 

Our current use case is very specific to cardiology. We're looking to try and solve several problems that we feel can be done through tech. The first and foremost is to be able to create a cardiac health score. We’re currently validating the first version through trials. In the next six months, we hope to deploy commercially.

Bangalore has the right ecosystem of talent for something like this. We are building it all in the cloud. We are taking support from Microsoft to ensure that not only do we host it with them, but we also get advanced AI, as well as data security capabilities. 

How has business been so far?

In terms of growth, we're doubling every month. We will be in accelerated growth at least for the first year. We are past the 1,000 patient milestone and we want to cross the 10,000 patients-mark this calendar year.  

When do you expect to hit profitability?

So, I think like any other startup or any other new concept, profitability will take at least 2-5 years. How soon or how late depends on how the overall environment unfolds. I don't know when this will become a part of insurance, or will it always be out of pocket. Today 18 per cent GST is applicable on digital therapeutic services. There is a very important argument to be made here - if this is as important a service as a hospital service, and a hospital is GST exempt, can it not be GST exempt? Because we are also open to regulatory bodies inspecting us, we are also becoming CDC approved. So if GST goes away, automatically the patient's price reduces. So depending on those kinds of factors, the window will change. 

What is the socio-economic profile of an average patient at Lupin Digital Health?

Most of our patients are retired. They're over the age of 55-60. Almost 40 per cent of our patients are women, compared to a hospital average of 20-25 per cent. Also, more than 45 per cent of our patients are below the age of 50. Our youngest patient is 23. The oldest is over 90. Our  median patient is 55. 

Do you plan to expand your current fiscal target of covering about 30 cities and some adjacent towns in India?

The nature of cardiology is such that if you cover the top-20 cities and the nearby 70-100 towns, you’ve covered 85-90 per cent of all cardiologists. Cardiology by nature is a tertiary practice - people come to a big hospital to do a procedure, it is not done in every village. 

What are some challenges, given the digital nature of your offering?

Just the fact that it's a new concept. Here I actually have to go and explain the concept of cardiac rehab and virtual cardio. We’re in a position where cardiac rehab itself is not well known. Now we're trying to say that this can be done virtually. 

In an ideal world, doctors should be recommending this one to me by themselves. But we may not be at that stage. 

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Published 25 September 2023, 22:37 IST

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