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Pittsburgh cancer treatment company in $120M deal to expand in India

Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 12:03 p.m.

A Pittsburgh-based operator of cancer centers will expand in India through a deal with General Electric Co.'s health care unit.

Cancer Treatment Services International, which in 2012 built a $20 million cancer hospital in Hyderabad, India, said it and GE Healthcare will spend $120 million to construct 25 cancer centers across the country over five years.

“Combining GE Healthcare's innovative technology platforms with CTSI's proven expertise in operating cancer centers affords a fantastic means to tackling cancer early in India,” said John Dineen, CEO of the health care unit of Fairfield, Conn.-based GE.

Wexford-based CTSI is a privately held company founded by Joseph Nicholas in 2006 with Pittsburgh-area cancer physicians, including Stanley Marks, a specialist at UPMC who chairs CTSI. Nicholas, the CEO, ran a radiation oncology business for UPMC.

The company owns centers in California, Arizona and Florida. Its Hyderabad center is connected to Citizens Hospital, a private medical center founded by Dr. R.P. Raju, who until the early 1990s was a radiation oncologist in Altoona.

CTSI formed a subsidiary company to build and operate the Indian network of centers, and GE Healthcare is a minority investor in the subsidiary, Nicholas said. He declined to say how much GE invested, but said it will contribute cash and equipment.

CTSI is funding the expansion using cash generated by the Hyderabad center.

Cancer rates are rising sharply in India, CTSI said. About 1.2 million cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in the nation of about 1.2 billion people, the company said. Mortality rates are high because of late detection, lack of access and costs.

Cancer centers linked to a central hub in Hyderabad will increase access to patients, cut down on expensive travel, increase early detection and provide more efficient care, Nicholas said.

“There's a growing middle class (in India) that's demanding better health care in general, and better cancer care specifically,” he said. “If you detect cancer earlier, it's less expensive to treat.”

Alex Nixon is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7928 or

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