Healthcare technologies will be the next frontier for investments as researchers make progress on inventing treatments for some of the diseases that currently have no cure, said Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons.
Tata, who has turned into a prolific investor after retiring as chairman of the $108 billion conglomerate in 2012, has made undisclosed investments in a range of new-age companies such as online marketplace Snapdeal, online wallet and retailer PayTm, cab aggregator Ola, smartphone maker Xiaomi, online furniture seller Urban Ladder and, more recently, virtual currency company Abra and WiFi carrier Sabse Technologies from the US.
Healthcare technologies have the greatest potential to change the world as we see it today, he said. “I think the most exciting thing on the horizon that is likely to happen is different from what one is seeing in India,but is starting to see very much overseas, is the likelihood of medical breakthroughs,” Tata said at an event to inaugurate government-owned incubator T-Hub. “I see a great deal of breakthroughs in treating diseases which hitherto were fatal or had no cure.”
Companies working in the fields of computing, analytics, imaging, life sciences and stem cells have the potential for a breakthrough in the field of medical sciences. Research taking place at companies and labs has the potential to cure some of today’s fatal diseases such as cancer, Tata said.
MIT Technology Review has identified individual scientists, universities and companies that are evolving methods to detect cancer early from blood tests and using cerebral organoids to grow human brain cells to understand brain disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, dementia and mental illness.
Researchers at Google Inc., the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health and the Personal Genome Project are working on creating a global network of genomes that can let DNA databases communicate to help doctors solve medical cases.
US-based Cleveland Clinic is working on innovations such as a medical stroke treatment unit, inhibitors to reduce cholesterol and intraoperative radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.
The impact of medical discoveries will be felt not just in developing countries in Asia and Africa, but in the developed world as well, Tata observed.
However, he said there was “no way” to precisely identify the breakthroughs at this point in time. “Something is going to happen which may be a breakthrough. We don’t know it today because there may be a hundred companies working in that area,” the 77-year-old industrialist said. “But one or five of them are going to be successful.”
This article was first published on Livemint.com