Medtronic Inc. said Wednesday it will enter the kidney dialysis business by starting a joint venture with India’s largest health care system.
Working with Apollo Hospitals Enterprise, the Fridley-based medical device company hopes to develop a portable, low-cost approach to dialysis for patients in countries where issues such as water purity and travel costs can make it difficult for people to get adequate hospital treatment.
With India, Medtronic is entering the dialysis business in a country where chronic kidney disease is a major health problem, affecting about 75 million people or about 6 percent of the population. Every year, about 200,000 people need dialysis or kidney transplants to survive, Medtronic said.
Medtronic is investing $24 million in the project, which will focus on development of a portable hemodialysis system that requires less ultrapure water than existing systems. The development and production work will happen in India, the first time Medtronic has set up an R&D center in the country.
“Both the cost and lack of mobility of current systems have made broader access to dialysis treatment difficult and expensive,” CEO Omar Ishrak said in a statement.
He said that by working with Apollo, Medtronic will be able to take advantage of the hospital chain’s reach in treating patients with end-stage renal disease in India. Apollo operates 51 hospitals and more than 100 clinics in the country.
The two companies said they expect the system they are developing, which they target for availability in 2016, to allow hemodialysis to be performed in patients’ homes rather than at hospitals.
Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553