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Helix Medical buy adds 260 people to its payroll

By   /   Friday, October 26th, 2012  /   Comments Off on Helix Medical buy adds 260 people to its payroll

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As part of its long-term strategy to build itself into a self-sustaining medical device company, Carpinteria-based Helix Medical has acquired MedVenture Technology Corp.

Helix, which is mainly a manufacturer of components for medical devices, bought MedVenture, a Kentucky-based medical device design, development and manufacturing company that also has offices in Indiana and Minnesota, in a deal that closed Oct. 17. Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, Helix CEO Jorg Schneewind told the Business Times he’s had an eye on MedVenture for two and a half years.

“MedVenture was not for sale,” Schneewind said. “But we identified it as a good fit in our strategic plan … the company is very strong in product development for the medical device industry, and it’s also very strong in the final assembly of the entire device and its packaging.”

MedVenture President Kevin Bramer said “over the last two and a half years, after meeting with Jorg and others at Helix, we developed a relationship that was compelling. After many discussions, we saw that we had common value propositions, and not only that, our cultures were very similar.”

Because Helix is more focused on manufacturing components for the devices — the company specializes in making custom silicone and rubber component parts — the two companies are a natural fit, Schneewind said. Before the acquisition, Helix’s Massachusetts facility was a supplier to MedVenture. “Now, we’re a comprehensive partner to the medical device industry, from development to manufacturing of components and final assembly,” Schneewind said.

The Carpinteria firm purchased MedVenture from Ampersand Capital Partners, a Massachusetts-based private equity firm that specializes in the health care industry.

With 150 employees at its headquarters on Mark Avenue, Helix Medical is the fifth largest biomedical and biotech company in the Tri-Counties, according to Business Times records. Including its South Coast facility, Helix has 10 manufacturing outposts throughout the world, and all in all, the company employs more than 1,000 people.

Inside the U.S., Helix has two facilities in California and one on the East Coast, but nothing in the Midwest, a region Schneewind said is home to a cluster of medical device industry customers, especially in the triangle of Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. With the acquisition of MedVenture, Helix now has an office and a small manufacturing building in the Midwest.

From MedVenture’s end, Helix’s acquisition of the company means it has a broader geographic reach, as well. Helix’s international plants will allow the Kentucky firm to provide lower-cost manufacturing for customers in countries such as Costa Rica and Ireland, where Helix maintains facilities.

MedVenture comes with 260 of its own employees. All of them will keep their jobs, and they’ll all remain at their home facilities in Kentucky, Indiana and Minnesota.

Bramer of MedVenture said his firm was growing at a 10 to 15 percent annual pace before it was acquired by Helix. He said the combined company is expected to grow at a faster rate, largely because existing customers are seeing that the firm is now a full service, end-to-end medical device maker. “When you combine the companies’ capabilities … we’re second to none in the industry,” Bramer told the Business Times.

Helix is a division of the Freudenberg Group, a global custom manufacturer for the medical device and health care industries.

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