Cytori eyes Indian market for growth: CEO

BANGALORE Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:25pm EDT

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BANGALORE (Reuters) - Medical device maker Cytori Therapeutics Inc (CYTX.O) is looking to enter the Indian market by forging deals with healthcare service providers, including Apollo Hospitals Enterprise (APLH.BO), by the end of this year, according to its chief executive.

Cytori's Celution system, which has already received approval from European regulators, is used for breast reconstruction after lumpectomy in patients with breast cancer.

"We selected Apollo as a group to work with as it has the largest hospital chain within India, which gives us the opportunity for bringing our technology across India," Chief Executive Christopher Calhoun told Reuters in an interview.

Through the deal, Cytori is hoping to sell its Celution systems to Apollo for the use in soft tissue reconstruction, including breast reconstruction, and for some aesthetic applications, Calhoun said.

He said Apollo is also interested in the development and use of Cytori's therapies for cardiovascular indications. Cytori is also testing its stem cell-based treatment of patients with chronic heart attack patients with no treatment option.

The San Diego, California-based company has partnered with GE Healthcare for exclusive marketing of the Celution system in select European countries, including UK, France and Germany.

Most of the company's revenue comes from Celution.

Cytori's Celution system extracts stem and regenerative cells from the fat tissues of a patient, and are immediately injected into the affected areas such as breast and coronary artery. These cells help restore blood supply to blood-deprived areas of the heart and in tissue regeneration.

"They (Apollo) are absolutely interested in being part of the development pipeline for larger indications as cardiovascular disease is the most leading and massively growing epidemic in India," Calhoun said.

Calhoun, who refused to give any sales outlook, said India could add "meaningful" revenue and is going to be a part of the company's overall growth story.

"Apollo group has around 50 hospitals. If each hospital over a period of time decides to buy a (Celution) system or two and use them once or twice a week, that could become a pretty significant opportunity," he said.

The Celution system costs about $100,000-$200,000 depending on the geographical area.

Apollo, which has more than 8500 beds across hospitals in India, has shown deep interest in using stem-cell based therapies and had already tested Cytori's product in some cosmetic procedures, said Calhoun said.

Calhoun said it will not sign an exclusive agreement with Apollo, allowing Cytori to enter into talks with other major healthcare providers in India such as Fortis Healthcare Ltd (FOHE.BO).

(Reporting by Anand Basu; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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