Medical molder Medex Inc. has purchased Inhalation Plastics Inc., a small Chicago processor that Medex said will enhance its presence in unit-dose, respiratory and anesthesia markets.
The May 23 purchase is not large for Medex - IPI has sales of about $2 million a year, compared with Medex's $100 million. Both firms are privately held and terms were not disclosed.
But IPI has some critical blow-fill-seal technology that will let Medex begin to package unit-dose drugs in plastic bottles, said Rick Hartnett, new business development director for Dublin, Ohio-based Medex.
The purchase also gives Medex - which sells its fluid- and drug-delivery systems directly to hospitals and buying groups - additional oxygen-delivery and other products for the gas anesthesia markets. Medex had made only intravenous anesthesia products.
The acquisition also adds aerosol therapy and humidification technology for the respiratory market, Hartnett said. Anesthesiologists frequently control purchasing of respiratory devices, Hartnett said.
Medex still is evaluating what manufacturing might move from Chicago to its Ohio molding plant, but most likely will keep at least some operations in Chicago, Hartnett said. He said it was an ``extremely remote possibility'' that the IPI plant would close.
``To move a sterile, blow-fill-seal operation is not something you really want to do,'' he said.
IPI has 40 employees, eight injection presses, three blow molding machines and four extrusion lines in Chicago. It also has insert molding and a toolroom.
IPI, which was founded in 1969 by Walter Levine, has seen its annual sales vary between $2 million and $10 million a year for the past decade, Hartnett said.
IPI was finding that its small size was making it hard to get the attention of hospitals and their buying groups in the increasingly consolidated medical market, Hartnett said.
``Medex has the marketing and sales muscle that they didn't have,'' he said. ``Basically there is a lot of synergy between Medex and IPI to make us a larger, more viable force.''