Bluegrass Vascular Technologies said today that it entered a “strategic relationship” with Merit Medical (NSDQ:MMSI) for its Surfacer “inside-out” catheter that includes an equity stake and a distribution agreement.
The Surfacer device is designed to provide access to the jugular vein to restore central venous access in hemodialysis patients with blocked neck veins; it won CE Mark approval in the European Union last August. The catheter is threaded through the femoral vein up to and into blockage in the jugular, which acts as a stabilizer. The head of the catheter is then aligned via fluoroscopy with a target on the surface of the neck, and a needle guide is advanced through to the skin. A sheath is then inserted, the Surfacer retracted and a central venous catheter is attached to the sheath.
Today San Antonio-based Bluegrass Vascular said the deal with Merit is expected to streamline its distribution in Europe. The unspecified equity investment is slated for a bid for FDA clearance in the U.S., the company said.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with Merit Medical, a prominent distributor of medical devices in Europe and the U.S. that shares the same vision of addressing the clinical gaps that exist in vascular access care for hemodialysis patients,” president & CEO Gabriele Niederauer said in prepared remarks. “We are excited about Merit’s choice to commercialize the innovative Surfacer system and deepen their superb customer relationships.”
“The Surfacer system is an innovative inside-out approach to restore access to the right internal jugular vein and to preserve treatment options in hemodialysis patients with occluded veins,” added Merit founder, chairman & CEO Fred Lampropoulos. “This unique approach addresses an unmet need in hemodialysis care and aligns with Merit’s interventional portfolio, which includes the Hero graft, a complementary device designed to reduce catheter-associated complications and costs. We are very excited to bring this novel technology to market.”
South Jordan, Utah-based Merit paid $48 million last month for assets from Argon Medical Devices and Catheter Connections. The company hit a 52-week high later in February after reporting 4th-quarter results that beat the consensus forecast on Wall Street.
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