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Sulzer Medica sees big growth in vascular treatments

The medical technology company, Sulzer Medica, has acquired the United States firm IntraTherapeutics, for $145 million (SFr233 million). The company said the move would help it develop less invasive treatments for cardiac and vascular disease.

IntraTherapeutics is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of peripheral stents - devices for treating peripheral vascular diseases. These are conditions in which the blood vessels become narrowed or blocked, slowing or stopping the flow of blood.

Peripheral stents are expandable metallic tubes or coils inserted into the arteries of the legs, trunk, neck and shoulders.

A statement on Friday from Sulzer Medica headquarters in Winterthur said the acquisition would expand its vascular business activities into the fast growing and highly profitable peripheral stent market.

It added that it would enable Sulzer Medica to further capitalise on the trend towards less invasive treatments of cardiac and vascular diseases.

InterTherapeutics, based in St Paul, Minnesota, is a privately owned company with about 150 employees and sales of some $20 million (SFr32 million) in 2000.

Peripheral vascular diseases are thought to affect as many as eight million people in the US alone, or about one in every 20 people over the age of 50.

The market generated sales of about $300 million in 1999 and is estimated to grow at an annual rate in excess of 25 per cent.

The chief executive of Sulzer Medica, André Buchel, said that entering the market was an important step in the company's strategy to expand core activities and further strengthen the highly profitable cardiovascular business.

"We are excited to develop our technology platform beyond heart valves and vascular grafts and to add on the experienced and proven management team of IntraTherapeutics," he said.

swissinfo with agencies


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