By Liz White, UTI editor
Rogers, Minnesota -- Biomaterials and medical device company AorTech International plc is putting itself up for sale, the company said in an interim results statement.
The company needs development capital to develop its heart valves and exploit the value of its intellectual property portfolio and its applications to other medical companies.
The board thinks that moving its operations to Minneapolis has raised awareness of AorTech and its product portfolio, and that the medical device industry now recognises that AorTech supplies the Elast-Eon polyurethane material that St Jude Medical brand as Optim.
Optim is reported to be 50 times more resistant to abrasion than silicone.
The directors believe that Aortech's Elast-Eon has become a key factor in the success of the St Jude ICD lead business and demonstrates the value of using Elast-Eon/Optim to a major medical company.
AorTech develops and manufactures biostable, implantable polymers, including Elast-Eon (urethane-based) and ECSil (silicone-based); the company believes its strategic value is based upon the intellectual property it holds in these bio-stable polymers and its patented device designs.
But it says the previous business model - "manufacturing polymers for other companies' products has not generated the levels of income required to sustain the company on a long-term basis."
As a result, Aortech feels development of the materials and product designs could best be achieved by its technologies individually, or the company itself, becoming part of a larger medical group with the resources and skills required to maximise the value of AorTech's assets.
The Board will continue to seek development capital for its heart valve, but will extend the strategy to a formal sales process for Aortech, through discussions with parties who might be interested.
Aortech has appointed Piper Jaffray to assist it with this process.