Merit Medical Systems ramps up offerings with $132M in acquisitions

Merit Medical Systems has spent $132.5 million in the last few days to ramp up its presence in the hemodialysis device market, adding a range of catheter and sealant products it reckons will add around $33 million a year to its top line.

The expansion comes from two separate deals with AngioDynamics and Bluegrass Vascular Technologies—valued at $100 million and $32.5 million, respectively—that flesh out Merit’s own specialty dialysis portfolio.

From AngioDynamics, Merit picks up DuraFlow, BioFlo DuraMax, Evenmore, Schon XL, Trio-CT and Vaxel Plus hemodialysis catheters as well as BioSentry, a hydrogel-based sealant system used to prevent pneumothorax (collapsed lung) when carrying out lung biopsies.

Pneumothorax is a potentially life-threatening complication that occurs in around one-fourth of lung biopsy procedures and can extend the time that patients have to stay in the hospital.

The company also highlighted the coated BioFlo DuraMax product, which is more resistant to blood clot accumulation—a perennial problem in dialysis patients—than conventional non-coated dialysis catheters.

The deal with Bluegrass, meanwhile, follows a long-standing commercial relationship between the two companies in which Merit handled distribution for Bluegrass’ Surfacer “inside-out” range of central venous catheters in Europe. Now, Merit takes full control of the brand, which can be used for dialysis as well as other applications like delivering chemotherapy.

The device allows the placement of a central line using an inside-out approach rather than the traditional outside-in method. It enters the body in the femoral vein and is manipulated through the patient’s venous system to an exit point in the jugular vein, where the skin is pierced from the inside out. A sheath is then delivered from the outside in, and a catheter is placed.

Merit CEO Fred Lampropoulos said in a June 8 announcement that the strategy is “selectively investing to expand our product portfolio in key strategic markets that leverage our existing commercial footprint.”

The company’s current portfolio of dialysis therapies includes HeRO Graft, an access device for patients who are failing fistulas or grafts or are catheter-dependent due to the blockage of veins leading to the heart, and Wrapsody, an endoprosthesis used to keep blood vessels open in patients on hemodialysis that works much like a cardiovascular stent.

Wrapsody is in a 500-patient registry study—called WRAP—in patients that have narrowing or blockage of blood vessels that are required for dialysis to be given effectively. In that situation, the patients often must undergo multiple procedures in hospital to keep the vessels open. Results from the study are due next year.

“Combining this broad portfolio of interventional solutions within Merit will allow us to leverage our physician relationships and commercial infrastructure to serve more patients in the multi-billion dialysis market,” said Lampropoulos.

Merit has also updated its financial forecasts for the current calendar year as a result of the acquisitions, raising its net sales forecast to between $1.23 billion and $1.24 billion from the earlier range of between $1.22 billion and $1.23 billion.

AngioDynamics, meanwhile, said it plans to use the proceeds of the sale to eliminate its debt and to support the growth of priority brands including its NanoKnife system for minimally invasive surgeries, the AlphaVac mechanical aspiration thrombectomy device and the Auryon range for endovascular surgeries.