A Chicago private equity firm has snapped up an Eagan company that makes equipment to sterilize reusable medical scopes just as federal officials are calling for greater vigilance in device cleanliness.
Shore Capital Partners has acquired Summit Medical Inc. and made it a centerpiece in a new $112.5 million institutional investment platform that will be composed of midsize medical technology companies. Company officials declined to reveal financial details of the acquisition of the privately held company.
"It's a great opportunity for Summit and our products to be the first of many acquisitions," Summit President Kevin McIntosh said. "Adding on other companies and being able to acquire other businesses in our wheelhouse is great."
Summit has two main lines of business: small therapeutic tools for ear, nose and throat procedures; and InstruSafe Instrument Protection Trays used in the sterilization of reusable medical instruments for minimally invasive treatments, including various types of endoscopes.
Summit, which has less than $50 million in revenue, announced in late January that it plans to aggressively expand its line of medical device sterilization systems, because of customer demand and the growing complexity of reusable devices. Summit will retain its workers and management.
Last week, the FDA published a national alert about a specific type of inside-the-body scope called an duodenoscope, used to treat gallstones and take samples for cancer biopsy. The Minnesota Health Department has warned that many different types of scopes used to take images and perform procedures deep in the body can harbor dangerous microbes, including the deadly antibiotic-resistant "superbug" family of bacteria known as CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.
Following medical procedures, such scopes are typically washed by hand and then sterilized in specialized machines like Johnson & Johnson's popular Sterrad system using specialized trays that are certified not to interfere with the cleaning process. Advanced medical scopes can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 apiece, so careful handling is key, company officials say.
The rise of drug-resistant bacteria like CRE comes amid growing popularity in minimally invasive therapies involving reusable scopes and surgical tools, particularly those intended for the robotic da Vinci Surgical System, made by Intuitive Surgical in Silicon Valley.
The Food and Drug Administration has already approved seven types of machine-wash cycles that Summit device-protection trays can be used in, including 4-minute and 8-minute steam sterilization cycles and several cycles involving the Sterrad in hospitals. Summit plans to seek additional FDA approvals for cleaning cycles this year.
"Obviously what is going on in California now is just one example," said Don Pierce, partner with Shore Capital Partners, referring to the news last week of two deaths in California apparently related to CRE transmitted via unsterilized endoscopes. "There is a need to make sure these instruments are sterilized when they are going to be used repeatedly."