Big changes are coming to one Central Florida plastics company after 31 years in business.
Custom injection molder Clairson Plastics is being sold to a new start-up that plans to dive into the medical market with a new dialyzer, a key component in kidney dialysis.
The deal to sell the Ocala, Fla.-based company for an undisclosed amount to newly formed Artemis Plastics LLC is expected to close early in the week of Sept. 22, according to Clairson CEO Dave Donihue.
A big attraction for Florida native Gary Mishkin, a biomedical engineer and president of Apollo Renal Therapeutics, was the turn-key nature of the Clairson purchase. Artemis Plastics LLC is planned as the production division of Apollo, and with Clairson's 40,000-square-foot facility — including 4,000 square feet of clean room assembly and injection molding with certified class 10,000 and 100,000 environments — Artemis will be able to continue Clairson's work and add its own dialyzer production once the device has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We were originally looking to set up from scratch,” said Mishkin, who developed the new, high-efficency dialyzer under a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. “But then we found this medical device company in Florida where they already have everything up and running. There was a beautiful synergy in putting the two together.”
About 45 to 50 percent of Clairson's current business is in medical molding, according to Donihue, with the rest in consumer products. Mishkin and his partner, Steve Adler, plan to keep that business going and even expand it after making some capital improvements. Once the dialyzer, which is heading into clinical trials, has FDA approval, that equipment can be moved in and production can ramp up immediately, Mishkin said.
In the meantime, Clairson's customers “can expect the same excellent services and products they have been getting,” Mishkin said, and will even see the business expanding soon under the Artemis name. Offer letters have already been sent out to current Clairson employees, Mishkin said, and more staff is expected to be added soon after the transition is complete.
Clairson posted $10 million in injection molding sales in Plastics News' rankings of North American injection molders, where it landed at 321 on the list.