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German cell-therapy clinic to go global under Thai owner

May 26. 2013
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By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THE N

With strong intentions to serve global customers with Thai hospitality and change the focus of the healthcare industry from treatment to prevention, Niwat Kittichaiwong, owner and chief executive officer of Villa Medica International Co in Germany, aims t

Niwat is a young Thai tycoon who took over Villa Medica, a leading German clinic for holistic medicine, in 2009.

Villa Medica has been in the forefront of cellular therapy since 1962 using the techniques developed by the late Swiss doctor Paul Niehans. The clinic in Edenkoben, Germany, was established by Dr Burkhard Aschhoff. It has more than 50 qualified medical staff and healthcare specialists dedicated to helping patients achieve optimal health through naturopathy and a holistic approach.

Motivated by his mother’s illness, Niwat began searching for treatments for her. After he learned about Niehans’ fresh cell therapy, he sent 25 e-mails to Aschhoff. However, he received no response, so he travelled to Germany and arranged for cell therapy for his mother. After she recovered, he decided to become a Villa Medica representative in Thailand.

Eventually, Niwat acquired 100 per cent of the clinic in Germany with about Bt600 million of initial capital.

“I believe in possibility. I believe fresh-cell therapy will be able to help people get healthier, as it is a method of natural prevention and treatment. Although I have little medical knowledge, I was able to adapt my experience in management and marketing to this business and make it known to the world,” he said.

Niwat acquired his own small costume business when he was 20 years old while studying management in Australia. After that he owned a construction company for 10 years. His construction business failed during the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s. However, he did not lose his ambition to set up a successful business, and Villa Medica presented him with a new opportunity.

Previously, Villa Medica only served European clients for more than 50 years. After Niwat’s acquisition, it now serves clients and patients from more then 24 countries across the world, mostly in Asia.

“Villa Medica was like an uncut diamond. I would like to make the world acknowledge this kind of therapy and make more people healthier,” Niwat said.

It is well known that people who are already ill make up just 20 per cent of the market, and the rest are those who do not want to get sick. That 80-per-cent chunk of the market is the one Villa Medica wants to own, or at least play a significant role in, through preventive healthcare with its expertise in regenerative medicine.

In the first two years since Niwat’s acquisition, the annual number of clients grew by 300 per cent, from 50 patients to 250. In the third year of operation under Niwat, it served 800 clients. Most are from Asia, mainly the Philippines, Thailand, the Middle East, and China.

Niwat targets Villa Medica to serve up to 1,800 clients this year, 1,500 of them from Asia.

Since taking over the business, Niwat has not changed the method of fresh cell therapy, but has adapted the principles of Thai hospitality and service to the clinic.

He spent about Bt200 million to renovate the clinic’s old building and make it more luxurious. It now has 19 rooms to serve its clients.

Niwat plans another building with 30 rooms to serve more clients on 20 rai (3.2 hectares) of land in Edenkoben, near a national park.

“I plan to establish nine satellite clinics outside Germany to prepare clients before sending them for fresh cell injections in Germany. The targeted countries include the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Brazil,” he said.

At present, the company only has a clinic in Bangkok, the Holistic Medical Centre in the Asoke Building.

Niwat said Villa Medica now was focusing on prevention rather than treatment. He wants to expand integrative medical and regenerative therapy to the world market. He has set up seminars to educate people around the world about fresh-cell therapy.

He said money was not his major target for the business. His vision is to change the healthcare industry from treatment to prevention and globalise healthcare via fresh-cell therapy.

Niwat claims that more than 90 per cent of Villa Medica’s clients improve their health, some recovering from chronic diseases. For instance, it has seen vast improvements in the lives of some autistic children it treated in recent years, claiming an 85-per-cent success rate in providing a well-balanced quality of life for these children and their families.

Such inspiring results have encouraged the clinic to form a “Caring Hearts Foundation” to provide extensive care for children suffering from such syndromes. Villa Medica aims to help 30-50 autistic children each year under the foundation. It will be funded by Villa Medica and the donations of its clients.

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