The landmark Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement between Premium International Ltd. and the University of Moratuwa was extended for a further three years based on the remarkable progress made by Sri Lanka's only Research and Development Laboratory for bio medical technology. University of Moratuwa Vice Chancellor Professor Ananda Jayawardane and Premium International Managing Director/CEO Prasantha Kularatna addressed this momentous occasion.
The initial agreement was signed in 2010 for a period of two years with an investment value of Rs. 50 million. This pioneering partnership is typical of a Silicon Valley operation where a PPP was formed between Sri Lanka's most prestigious engineering university and Sri Lanka's only turnkey healthcare solutions provider, Premium International Ltd.
The objective of this collaboration between Premium International and University of Moratuwa is to harness local research and development expertise, engineering skills with the intent to develop medical equipment prototypes for subsequent commercialisation. Whilst being recognised by both the public and private sector health institutions and professionals, Premium International continuously searches for new prospects and this collaboration is yet another such initiative with Sri Lanka's top tier tertiary Engineering Institution, the University of Moratuwa.
A state-of-the-art laboratory was designed and built at the university and the required equipment was procured from the world leaders in the manufacture, distribution and service of electronic test tools, biomedical equipment and networking solutions from USA, Europe and Japan. The laboratory is managed by the highest calibre professionals and technical assistants at the University of Moratuwa and includes three holders of PhDs, two MSc graduates and two First Class engineering graduates.
This ground breaking venture was recognised by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015 by way of making available a substantial grant to procure high tech testing instruments and simulators.
This pioneering project can be considered complementary to other government initiatives in the post war development era of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it's a perfect fit with the advent of new hospital technology and the growing needs for diagnostics in Sri Lanka's healthcare sector. At present both the state and private sector spends over Rs. 10 billion annually to import and procure medical and laboratory equipment.
The success of the project will ensure the development of a new industry which will result in saving of foreign exchange with also high potential for the export of medical equipment and components. At present these types of medical instruments are not freely available though out the country. Once commercial production of the equipment commences all citizens of our nation will benefit from the ready availability of essential medical equipment.
Furthermore, the University of Moratuwa has been able to offer a special degree for engineering in the specialised field of bio medical technology subsequent to the successful commissioning of this research and development laboratory. The presence of the laboratory now gives opportunities for aspiring under graduate and graduate students to apply theoretical knowledge to practical application.
The progress made to date in this laboratory is truly remarkable. Successful preliminary clinical trials have already been conducted for its first medical equipment prototypes. The commercial launch of Sri Lanka's first ever locally manufactured high tech medical equipment is expected during the first quarter of 2016, thus paving the way for a new era in Sri Lanka's healthcare industry.