By Mike McNulty Rubber & Plastics News Plymouth, Minnesota-A tripling in sales during the past fiscal year has spurred CardioTech International Inc. to expand a major portion of its four-division, three-plant operation.The polyurethane medical-device maker nearly will double the manufacturing space at its Plymouth facility, expanding the site to 11000 from 6000 square feet.The company’s Catheter and Disposables Technology Inc. subsidiary develops and makes products, primarily urethane-based, for original equipment manufacturers.CardioTech also plans to increase the plant’s workforce of 25 by about 10 in the next year because sales are expected to rise 50 percent, according to chairman and chief executive officer Michael Szycher.In March, the company also moved its headquarters, its CT Biomaterials Inc. unit and its DermaPhylyx Inc. subsidiary from a leased, 11,000-square-foot building in Woburn, Mass., to a 24 000-square-foot structure it purchased in Wilmington, Massachusetts.The move was made because the firm needed additional room to handle its wound dressing and urethane raw materials businesses, which are growing rapidly, Szycher said. CT Biomaterials produces a line of implantable urethane elastomers, synthesized to customer specifications, while DermaPhylyx concentrates on wound dressings.In addition, the firm’s Gish Biomedical Inc. subsidiary is going through a growth spurt of its own – adding machinery and personnel at its factory in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.CardioTech bought most of the new machinery from a bankruptcy auction, Szycher said. Gish added about 20 people to its workforce, giving it about 150 employees and CardioTech 185.”We’ve had extraordinary growth during the last [fiscal] year,” ended 31 March, Szycher said, when CardioTech recorded about $21 million in sales, up from $3.4 million the previous year. “We expect more growth in 2004. We think it will be a very good year.” Gish accounted for about $17 million of the sales.CardioTech acquired Gish and its 76,000-square-foot plant in Rancho Santa Margarita in April 2003 for about $7.6 million in stock to expand its medical-device production base and give it a leadership presence in the market for open-heart-surgery goods, Szycher said.Among the many products Gish makes is a pump that takes the place of the heart during an operation, Szycher said. The pump’s tubing is made of various polymers, and liquid urethane is used to hold the device’s housing.The division makes a variety of other goods, including oxygenators, blood reservoirs, central venous access catheters and ports, cardiovascular tubing systems, and blood recovery devices for post-operative use in orthopedic surgeries.CardioTech established a sound foundation in the medical products industry in August 2001 when it purchased Catheter and Disposables Technology and its factory for an undisclosed amount to vertically integrate its patented urethane biomaterials into the business.CDT designs, develops and manufactures cardiovascular tubing systems, arterial filters, oxygenators, cardioplegia delivery systems and oxygen saturation monitors. It focuses on catheters and medical products based on molded and extruded components. The majority of its goods are custom-made for original equipment manufacturers.”
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