Medical-device contract manufacturer MedTech Group Inc. is taking dead aim at making inroads into the catheter segment of the medical industry through its merger with medical heat-shrink tubing and angioplasty balloon designer Advanced Polymers Inc.
The privately owned, South Plainfield, N.J., company is also planning on rolling out a new corporate name shortly. We will be rebranding the company to more accurately communicate the company's position in the marketplace, said President and CEO George Blank. Our company now has a complete capability to assist our customers in delivering integrated solutions for the most demanding new interventional and minimally invasive devices.
In a phone interview July 21, company spokesman Steve Cookston said the new corporate name is likely to be announced within the next month or two.
We want to retain the value brands that we've established, but we are looking for a new brand and name that will describe the entire platform, Cookston said.
The merger, which closed July 1, was announced by the two companies July 14. Advanced Polymers will continue to operate in Salem, N.H., under the current management team, and company co-founder and President Mark Saab will remain as president and join the board of directors at MedTech.
Saab and his wife, Elisia, will also become significant shareholders in the merged company, according to MedTech.
MedTech had a strong, compelling desire to move strategically into catheter-based devices, said Cookston. This merger moves the company further in that direction because it gets MedTech into interventional cardiology and radiology products and other catheter-based businesses.
Advanced Polymers designs heat-shrink tubing and balloon catheters for minimally invasive surgical procedures, with particular experience in thin-walled, ultrahigh-strength heat-shrink tubing.
It is the second design company to become part of MedTech in the past 18 months. In December 2008, it acquired TDC Medical Inc., a 5-year-old company known for its design and development capabilities in single-use, hand-held instruments used in the therapeutic and surgical markets.
The momentum behind the latest merger was the ability to marry the design capabilities of Advanced Polymers in the catheter market with the contract manufacturing capabilities at MedTech, said Cookston. What drove the merger was the scope of operations the two companies could create together.
Advanced Polymers now has a partner with contract manufacturing capabilities that gives [it] a great opportunity to manufacture products it designs for its existing customers, said Cookston. Before this merger, they could only do small runs, not commercial manufacturing.
For MedTech, the merger is a chance to bolster some of the work at TDC and to offer its customers front-end design in heat-shrink tubing and balloons, said Cookston. The sales force can now sell injection molded components and assembly capabilities, front-end design capabilities for hand-held instruments, and balloon and heat-shrinking tubing design capabilities.
Advanced Polymers' proprietary polymer processing and expertise in heat-shrink tubing, custom extruded medical tubing and balloons provide a strong complement to MedTech's expertise in complex injection molding and device design and assembly, said Cookston.
This is a unique strategic combination that will provide substantial growth opportunities for the combined company, said Blank.
Specifically, it builds on the company's strategic initiatives to move into catheter-based devices and to acquire or develop proprietary processes and technologies. For Advanced Polymers, it provides access to MedTech's global manufacturing footprint, and design and contract manufacturing experience.
We have a very good technology base in what we do, said Blank. This merger is another example of our strategic commitment to investing in proprietary technology and processes. It is not sales and marketing that creates the growth. It is having the capacities to meet original equipment manufacturers' needs.
The merger boosts employment at MedTech to more than 600, as Advanced Polymers had roughly 200 employees, and completes a busy 18 months for MedTech.
Earlier this year, it opened a second plant in Heredia, Costa Rica, adjacent to its first plant in that country. The new plant has space for two clean rooms and assembly operations, and includes a tool-building operation that is larger in size than the company's 5,000-square-foot tooling facility in New Jersey.
The first Costa Rica plant, which opened in 2004, does injection molding and assembly and operates one clean room. With the expansion, MedTech will have more than 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Heredia.
Last September, MedTech announced it had increased the size of the clean room of TDC's facility in Marlborough, Mass., to 20,000 square feet from 13,000 square feet. It also replaced TDC's Sunnyvale, Calif., design facility with a new 25,000-square-foot building that has a larger clean room. It also added engineering staff in both locations.
MedTech has five clean rooms among its plants in South Plainfield, N.J.; West Haven, Conn.; Vega Baja, Puerto Rico; two plants in Heredia; and the TDC design facilities in Boulder, Colo., Sunnyvale and at TDC headquarters in Marlborough.
According to the Advanced Polymers website, the company designs:
* Seamless, thin-walled, ultrahigh-strength, optically clear or pigmented and heat-shrinkable polyethylene tubes
* Small-diameter, thin-wall, ultra-clean extruded thermoplastic tubing and beading in a range of thermoplastic materials
* Balloons and unique tubing for the catheter market
* Ultrahigh-strength, thin-walled balloons used for PTCA (percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty), PTA (percutaneous transluminal angioplasty), stent delivery and other dilation procedures
* Heat-stabilized, non-shrink PET tubing, ideally suited for precision sheaths or covers, catheter tubing and liners, insulating sleeving and viewing windows.