January 19, 2015

Kelyniam taps new markets to fuel medical device growth

Contributed
Contributed
A model of Kelyniam's facial implant.
Contributed
A model of Kelyniam's skull implant.

After three years of steady revenue growth from supplying neurosurgeons and their patients with cranial and facial implants shaped from plastics, Canton manufacturer Kelyniam Global Inc. is venturing into a new market it hopes will jumpstart future growth.

Kelyniam recently acquired Somers-based MED-ALLY LLC, which manufactures neuromodulation technology that can be used to create external and implantable medical devices that treat chronic pain and provide deep brain stimulation to help patients cope with conditions such as Alzheimer's, epilepsy, and Parkinson's disease.

"Neuromodulation is the wave of the future," said Tennyson Anthony, Kelyniam's CEO.

According to the International Neuromodulation Society, neuromodulation therapies have been available since the 1960's and neuromodulation devices are the fastest growing segment of the overall medical device industry.

The MED-ALLY acquisition will put Kelyniam at the forefront of a $4 billion market that has been growing more than 18 percent annually, said John Mulvihill, who co-founded MED-ALLY along with Raja Hitti.

"When MED-ALLY was introduced to me, it was not for the purpose of us working together, but I immediately saw an unbelievable synergy between the two companies," said Anthony. "What really enticed me was that John and Raja were not just looking at the market as it is now but looking at where they can take the market and how we can be market leaders."

Anthony said neuromodulation is a spin out from the pacemaker and implantable defibrillation market and will offer an alternative that may help alleviate the levels of opiate addiction throughout the country.

Spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain management is the most common application of the technology, according to the International Neuromodulation Society, and the pulse generators are often implanted beneath the skin of a patient's abdomen.

"Our implantable pulse generators will provide an alternative to addictive opiates for patients suffering from chronic pain, and provide new hope and the promise of an enhanced quality of life for many patients suffering from other ailments who currently have no viable alternative treatment," said Anthony.

A growing sector

Kelyniam is the type of advanced manufacturer Connecticut is trying to grow and attract, said Catherine Smith, commissioner of the state's Department of Economic and Community Development.

"Medical device manufacturing is in the sweet spot for Connecticut," said Smith. "The state has made and will continue to make strategic investments to grow Connecticut in this area."

The state's nearly $1 billion Bioscience Connecticut initiative and $200 million Bioscience Innovation Fund are part of the efforts to attract medical device companies, Smith said.

Oxford Performance Materials (OPM), another cranial and facial implant maker based in South Windsor, has benefited from the state's bioscience push several times, said Smith.

"OPM is a great example of how our programs work to grow Connecticut — they started with a small business loan of $300,000 in 2012 and graduated to a $3.2 million loan in late 2013," said Smith. "We have built a support system for these kinds of companies."

In exchange for the $3.2 million loan it received to help pay for equipment and upgrades to the additive manufacturing facility it opened adjacent to its headquarters in September 2013, OPM pledged to retain its 24 existing jobs and create 41 more by 2016.

Scott DeFelice, OPM's CEO, said the company has almost doubled its staff to 40 employees and is growing rapidly to expand its offerings in additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. The company, which has supplied polymer components to both NASA and defense manufacturer Northrop Grumman, announced in October a joint research program with Yale University.

The program will consist of 10 projects, featuring seven Yale faculty members, exploring additional biomedical applications for 3D printing and PEKK, which is a type of engineered plastic, said DeFelice.

Anthony said he would like to see Connecticut be a leader in medical device manufacturing and views his company's expansion into neuromodulation as a step in the right direction.

Kelyniam is no stranger to acquisitions either. In 2011, the company acquired the assets of the New Britain rapid software prototyping firm, Cranston Holdings LLC, around the same time it moved from New Britain to the Collinsville section of Canton.

That helped buoy the company's sales; in 2013 Kelyniam turned its first profit.

"[Last year was] a building year for Kelyniam — with the Affordable Care Act and everything that was taking place in the medical device industry, we really stood back and tried to figure out how we could take advantage of the new markets out there," said Anthony. "We will absolutely continue with our facial and cranial implants, but we have to keep growing, improving and thinking outside the box."

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