BD fortifies surgical mesh portfolio with acquisition of polymer maker Tepha

With five tuck-in acquisitions already under its belt for the year and no signs of slowing down, BD has made what may be its strongest buyout yet—literally.

The medtech giant acquired Tepha, a longtime partner of BD and the maker of its own resorbable polymer technology.

After it’s surgically implanted in areas of damaged soft tissue, Tepha’s polymer is designed to be strong enough to act as a sort of “scaffolding,” providing support throughout the body’s natural process of tissue repair. At the same time, even as it facilitates new tissue growth, the polymer slowly biodegrades and is eventually absorbed into the tissue itself.

That polymer is at the core of the GalaFLEX surgical scaffolds made by Tepha subsidiary Galatea Surgical. The GalaFLEX products have been proven in studies to begin facilitating new collagen growth within a week of implantation, with the scaffold being absorbed after 18 to 24 months, leaving behind stronger tissue than was originally there.

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BD has been using Tepha’s surgical scaffolds for more than a decade. The polymer is a central component of BD’s Phasix Mesh products, which are implanted in the abdominal wall for hernia repair.

By buying the company outright, BD will be able to more easily expand its surgical mesh portfolio, including the Phasix Mesh line. The company said it will also explore potential new uses for the polymer technology in the realm of soft tissue repair, reconstruction and regeneration.

“Tepha's proprietary polymer is used in BD’s current Phasix Mesh products and is the key technology that enables our products to provide short-term support for soft tissue repairs while enabling rapid tissue ingrowth and reabsorbing into the body over time,” Kevin Kelly, global president of BD Surgery, said in a statement.

“The acquisition—including its current and potential applications—will help ensure BD can continually provide physicians with the latest technology to treat their patients,” Kelly added.

Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed, but BD said it doesn’t expect the acquisition to have any significant impact on its performance for the year.

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This buyout makes half a dozen for BD in fiscal year 2021 alone. Prior to acquiring Tepha, the device maker snapped up a handful of companies making medication management devices, blood collection hardware and more.

Most recently, BD acquired Velano Vascular earlier this month; the former Fierce 15 winner and developer of a needle-free blood collection system for hospital patients.

Though the terms of that deal weren’t disclosed either, BD said it will integrate Velano’s FDA-cleared PIVO device into its existing and far-ranging portfolio of blood collection devices. The catheter-based system will support BD’s quest to offer the tools to provide a “one-stick hospital stay.”