Roslin, Scotland-based Arrayjet, an inkjet microarrayers and microarray manufacturing company, has opened a sales office in Cambridge, Mass. The state’s governor, Deval Patrick, visited the United Kingdom in March 2011 with a delegation of Massachusetts-based leaders from industry, academia and government to promote mutually beneficial collaborations. Arrayjet officials suggested that the expansion to Cambridge is related to that visit.
Patrick has been keen on attracting more medtech companies to his state, which already serves as one of the country’s largest medtech hubs.
Microarrays are 2-D arrays on a solid substrate (usually a glass slide or silicon thin-film cell) that assays large amounts of biological material using high-throughput screening methods.
Arrayjet has been in the microarray market since 2005 with the launch of the Marathon microarrayer, the first in a range of four microarray instruments using the company’s non-contact inkjet technology. Since then, Arrayjet has developed the product range and diversified the offering with the launch of Arrayjet Advance microarray services in 2011.
“We continue to see increased demand for our products and services in North America, and I’m delighted that moving forward we’ll have local sales efforts in one of the leading U.S. regions for life sciences to support existing and potential new customers here,” said Claire Jenkins, Arrayjet’s commercial director. “We are seeing continued growth at Arrayjet, and it’s an exciting time for us.”
The Bay State’s governor clearly is pleased with the latest addition to Massachusetts’ medtech roster.
“Thanks to our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts continues to lead the world in life sciences,” said Patrick. “We welcome Arrayjet to the Commonwealth and look forward to them creating jobs and economic opportunities here in Massachusetts.”
Ken Brown, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment, was equally effusive in his enthusiasm: “Arrayjet will join a broad and deep ecosystem in the global hub of life sciences.”
Through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the commonwealth is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences “supercluster.” These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Patrick in 2007, and passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor in 2008.
“We are excited to welcome Arrayjet to the fast-growing Massachusetts life sciences community,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the agency charged with implementing the 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative. “With its cutting-edge microarray printers and services, Arrayjet will be an important partner for the commonwealth’s R&D-focused organizations in both industry and academia. Arrayjet is among a growing group of international companies that have recently picked Massachusetts as the place to expand their business in the U.S.”
Danny Cusick, president of the Americas region for Scottish Development International, said: “Arrayjet is a great example of Scotland’s cutting-edge life-science companies that continue to look for new market opportunities overseas in order to grow their business,” said Cusick. “With a history of medical and scientific discovery stretching back 200 years and one of the largest life science clusters in Europe with significant international presence in research, development and manufacturing, Scotland has always been at the forefront of medical innovation.”
Helix Medical Completes MedVenture Acquisition
Carpinteria, Calif.-based Helix Medical LLC has completed the acquisition of MedVenture Technology Corp., a medical device design, development, and manufacturing company based in Louisville, Ky. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MedVenture manufactures minimally invasive surgical devices and catheter-based devices for medical device companies. The company develops integrated solutions for the endovascular, interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurovascular, urology, oncology, and gynecology markets, among others.
“MedVenture will deepen our resources in product design, development, and engineering and enable Helix to offer more comprehensive product life cycle management and be a stronger strategic partner to our customers, while our global reach, with now 10 facilities around the world, will allow MedVenture to expand their services into new regions and tap into Helix’s core strengths in thermoplastic and silicone molding and extrusion plus specialty catheters and hypotubes,” said Jorg Schneewind, D.Eng., president and CEO of Helix Medical. “Overall, the combined companies deliver a perfect synergy of complementary capabilities powered by highly innovative people, advanced technology, and leading-edge processes.”
The companies claim the combination is a perfect marriage of manufacturing skills and design capabilities.
“The MedVenture team is excited to be a part of the long-term growth of Helix Medical and we plan to leverage the additional resources to continue our achievements in the design, development and manufacture of minimally invasive medical devices,” said Kevin Bramer, CEO of MedVenture Technology. “Superior patient care begins with the newest technology and design strategies delivered with consistency and expertise. MedVenture’s accomplished team, combined with Helix Medical’s core manufacturing services, will allow us to continue to provide superior devices for first-rate patient care.”
Helix Medical is a division of the Freudenberg Group. The company offers design and development, silicone and thermoplastic molding and extrusion, complex catheter systems, assembly, packaging, and engineering services.
Utah Claims Lead in Medical Manufacturing Concentration
The Economic Department Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), a non-profit organization that works with state and local government to drive economic growth, has reported research that shows Utah has the highest concentration of medical device manufacturing firms per total number of companies in the state.
About 17 percent of all life-science companies in Utah are medical device companies (116 out of 600).
The state also leads the nation in the employment of medical device engineers and medical appliance technicians. Salt Lake City, the state’s capital, has the highest concentration of people working as biomedical engineers per total number of employed people, and the highest total number of medical appliance manufacturing technicians than any other city in the nation, according to EDCUtah.
“We beat Greensboro, N.C., and Boston, Mass. (second and third, respectively) with more than 30 percent higher employment, according to 2011 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said the EDCUtah researcher who compiled the data, Brigham Mellor.
He said the industry has “exploded” over the last few years in Utah. Since 2007, employment in medical device manufacturing has gone up in the United States 25.54 percent. In Utah, however, it has gone up a whopping 6,300 percent, according to EDCUtah’s figures.
“We don’t have the most medical device companies by number, we have the highest concentration,” Mellor explained to Medical Product Outsourcing. “Think of it as though you were going to open a business. What is the likelihood that next door to your company you have a medical device manufacturer? In the state of Utah you are 400 percent more likely to have that happen than the U.S. average.”
Since 2007, companies leading the pack for most jobs created in Utah are Edwards Lifesciences Corp. with 1,272, Nelson Laboratories with 750, and Fresenius Medical Care with 700.
“I moved to Salt Lake City in 1973,” said Salt Lake City-based Medron Inc.’s president Ron Whortley. “At that time, the area was known to have more medical companies per population base than most states. Salt Lake City provides a good source of educated and motivated workers.”
Medron develops and manufactures disposable medical products, specializing in vascular-access products and ancillary items for catheter placement.
SmartPill Makes Move to Israel Following Acquisition
An ingestible sensor from SmartPill Corp. Photo courtesy of The Buffalo News.
The move will cost Buffalo 13 jobs in SmartPill’s production and office operations, but the top-level executives will keep their jobs under Given Imaging.
“After a transition period, we will move SmartPill manufacturing operation to our existing manufacturing facility in Israel,” said Shimon Vinter, Given Imaging’s global director of purchasing and logistics, in a letter to suppliers.
SmartPill, which develops and manufactures ingestible, capsule-based medical devices that aid in the diagnosis, definition and therapeutic intervention of gastrointestinal disorders and diseases, was the first medical company to establish itself on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in 2009. Its departure will be a minor setback for the area’s efforts to create a robust life sciences research and medical device manufacturing hub.
SmartPill has in recent years been struggling to raise investment capital, which is the main cause driving the move. Sources who wish to remain anonymous told The Buffalo News that the company essentially became insolvent at the end of July this year. The cash from Given Imaging was enough to pay off SmartPill’s creditors, perhaps with enough left over to pay preferred stockholders, the sources reported.
Given Imaging makes an ingestible mini-camera that can be used to diagnose digestive ailments, especially in the colon, by taking images of the gastrointestinal tract as it moves through the body.
Given Imaging had $179 million in sales last year, including nearly $2 million in revenues from its PillCam Colon capsule. Company officials said that they expect SmartPill to generate revenues in the “low-single-digit” millions next year.