Technological developments are opening up an increasing number of opportunities to treat life-threatening illnesses and chronic conditions with interventional and implantable medical devices.
In many cases, the use of such devices results in better patient outcomes at lower costs than traditional drug therapies or invasive surgeries. The development and use of such devices is therefore increasingly important in the context of increasing global access to healthcare, a global ageing population and the growing prevalence of chronic diseases.
3i’s healthcare investment team has devoted significant time to understanding the drivers and developments of the medical device industry, and has supported its growth since 2014 by investing in two medical device outsourced manufacturers (Q Holding and Cirtec Medical) and by creating a global, pure-play bioprocessing consumables platform.
3i first invested in Cirtec Medical in August 2017. Cirtec Medical has long been a leader in the design and development of complex bioelectronic and minimally invasive medical devices. Customers rely on Cirtec Medical’s expertise to provide value-add solutions throughout the entire development and commercial manufacturing cycles to help bring life-enhancing therapies to market and scale to success.
The landscape of manufacturers supporting the most cutting edge and innovative devices is limited and highly fragmented, making it challenging for engineers at companies small and large to find partners that can support product development through its lifecycle.
3i has supported Cirtec Medical in mapping out the most influential device categories and identifying investment opportunities to aggregate capabilities that support the design, development and production of these devices.
Since 3i’s investment in 2017, Cirtec Medical has invested both organically and through four acquisitions to support the buildout of capabilities serving the most critical device applications. These investments have vertically integrated capabilities in its historically strong product areas, such as neuromodulation, while also diversifying end market exposures into other important treatment areas, such as heart valve replacement and continuous glucose monitoring.
Cirtec Medical is among the leaders in the manufacturing of implantable neuromodulation devices, which produce a natural biological response through the electrical stimulation of certain neurological sites in the body. These devices are used as an alternative to long-term drug therapy for the symptomatic relief of persistent or chronic conditions such as chronic pain, incontinence, sleep apnoea, migraine, Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy. Unlike long-term drug therapy, neuromodulation devices produce no side effects and can result in significantly superior outcomes.
Cirtec Medical supports the structural heart market through the design, development and manufacturing of components, sub-assemblies and delivery systems. Its products are used in devices such as transcatheter aortic and mitral valve replacement surgery, where artificial heart valves are minimally invasively inserted into the body and placed over damaged or poorly functioning heart valves to support improved blood flow in the heart. This serves as a lifesaving alternative for high risk patients too weak to undergo open heart surgery and is increasingly being investigated for use in lower risk patients, as data is supporting fewer complications and significantly reduced hospital bed days.
Cirtec Medical’s ultra-high precision, micron-scale thin film sensors are used for the manufacture of wearable sensors used in conjunction with continuous glucose monitoring (“CGM”) devices, as well as for a variety of other applications. CGM devices use wearable sensors that continuously measure the glucose in the interstitial fluid – the fluid in and around your body’s cells – rather than in the blood stream itself. CGM systems work 24 hours a day, and when paired with an insulin pump, can moderate the flow of insulin to ensure glucose levels remain in healthy range. This technological innovation is known as an “artificial pancreas” and has been a revolutionary device for diabetic patients.