Smith & Nephew picks up Tusker Medical and its in-office ear tube treatment

baby ear hearing
Smith & Nephew described the system as complementary to its ear, nose and throat business, which includes tonsillectomy and soft tissue products. (Pixabay)

Just weeks after it received FDA approval for its in-office system for placing eardrum tubes and treating ear infections, Tusker Medical has been picked up by Smith & Nephew for an undisclosed sum.

The devicemaker described the acquisition as part of its strategy to invest in technologies that address unmet clinical needs. Tusker’s Tula system, previously granted an FDA breakthrough device designation, is aimed at the 700,000 children who undergo surgery annually for recurrent ear infections or persistent fluid in the middle ear.

Typically, tympanostomy tubes are placed within the ear under general anesthesia in an operating room. The automated Tula device, meanwhile, is designed to be used within a physician’s office, with a local anesthetic, as the child sits up.

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Smith & Nephew described the system as complementary to its ear, nose and throat business, which includes tonsillectomy and soft tissue products used by general and pediatric ENT surgeons.

“The Tula System is a truly innovative option for physicians treating incredibly common ear conditions,” Smith & Nephew’s president of sports medicine and ENT, Brad Cannon, said in a statement. “It is a game-changer when treating children, removing the risk and stress of general anesthesia for patients and caregivers.”

All of Tusker’s employees are expected to join the company, with Smith & Nephew planning a commercial launch of the Tula system in the U.S. in the first quarter of this year.

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