Sterilization products maker Steris Corp. (NYSE:STE) inked a development deal with a New Jersey firm that specializes in filtration products.
Steris and River Edge, N.J.-based Nephros Inc. (OTC:NEPH) “will jointly develop filtration-based products for medical device applications,” according to a statement from Nephros. The statement doesn’t get any more specific than that, and a Steris spokesman declined to elaborate.
“For competitive reasons, no additional details are available, beyond stating that the agreement involves collaboration on general research projects,” Stephen Norton wrote in an e-mail. A Nephros spokeswoman didn’t return a call.
The agreement calls for an initial payment from Steris to Nephros, which could receive additional payments if it hits unspecified product-development milestones.
“I would characterize the size of the payments as small and not material to Steris,” Norton wrote. “The investment is material to Nephros and they were required to disclose the agreement.”
Nephros specializes in the chronic renal disease market, selling products designed to filter harmful substances from the blood that often aren’t removed by existing methods of dialysis. Patients suffering from chronic kidney disease often are treated with dialysis, using a machine that removes a patient’s blood, filters out harmful substances and returns it to the patient’s body.
Nephrons are filtering units found in the kidneys. About a million are present in each kidney.
In July 2009, Nephros received federal regulatory approval to begin selling its “Dual Stage Ultrafilters,” which are used to filter out biological contaminants from water used in dialysis procedures. In August, it received a $2 million contract from the U.S. Navy to develop a dual-stage water purifying filter.
Like Nephros, Steris is no stranger to military contracts. Last year, the company won a $6 million research and development grant from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to study and develop a system that would sterilize and decontaminate military aircraft after exposure to biological weapons, and examine ways to prevent infections acquired in military hospitals.
Nephros is publicly traded on the over-the-counter stock markets and was founded in 1997 Columbia University scientists.