PTG INVESTING $3 MILLION IN LARGER FACILITY

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ANAHEIM, CALIF. — California-based Polymer Technology Group Inc. plans to spend $3 million on a new plant that will triple its floor space and, according to company officials, allow it to better handle medical plastics manufacturing from concept to finished product.

PTG plans to add compounding and tubing extrusion lines in early 1998. The firm currently does extrusion, dip molding and compounding.

The new, 32,000-square-foot plant in Berkeley, Calif., is central to the firm's strategy to expand its research and polymer manufacturing business into original equipment manufacturing, PTG President Robert Ward said during a Feb. 12 interview at the Medical Design and Manufacturing West show in Anaheim.

Single-source product development, such as that announced by PTG, is driven by skyrocketing new-product development costs for medical device companies, the company said.

About $1.5 million of the investment will cover new equipment, such as a Class 100,000 clean room, automated dip molding equipment and a 16-inch liquid coating line. The expansion also will include larger biomaterials and research facilities, Ward said.

PTG plans to move from its 10,000-square-foot facility in Emeryville, Calif., in June and expects certification for the Food and Drug Administration's good manufacturing practices and ISO 9000 in the fourth quarter.

The company expects to expand from 14 employees to about 25, Ward said.

The expansion will allow PTG to lower new-product development costs and speed market entry because it will be able to handle all phases of product development under one roof, Ward said.

``The co-development that results from a successful OEM relationship will include a reduced risk in product development for both parties,'' he said.

The company also said that it has begun manufacturing polycarbonate-based polyurethanes it licensed from Corvita Corp. in May, after Corvita was purchased by Pfizer Inc. and was forced to stop its biomaterials sales, said spokeswoman Theresa Bui.

The company is marketing the products, which resist oxidation and have uses such as pacemaker leads, under the Bionate trade name. Bionate had about $1 million in carcinogenic testing before PTG acquired the license, making it among the most extensively tested biomaterials, the company said.

Privately held PTG has developed polymers, silicone oligomers, membranes and blood-compatible PUs.