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Bluegrass Vascular Technologies CEO Gabriele Niederauer
By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal
Bluegrass Vascular Technologies, a private medical technology company that relocated its headquarters from Lexington, Kentucky, to San Antonio in 2014, has entered into a strategic relationship with Merit Medical Systems.
The new deal with Utah-based Merit will give Bluegrass Vascular streamlined distribution of its Surfacer Inside-Out Access Catheter System in Europe and is also expected to provide funding to support efforts to secure U.S. federal regulatory approval for its initial device.
The Surfacer Inside-Out Access Catheter System provides what Bluegrass Vascular officials have described as reliable, efficient and repeatable central venous access to the right internal jugular vein - the optimal location for placing a central venous catheter. Those same officials said securing such access leads to better patient outcomes.
"Merit Medical has been aware of the Inside-Out technology for several years," Bluegrass Vascular Technologies President and CEO Gabriele Niederauer told me from Europe.
Over the last few months, more detailed discussions led to a distribution deal that could give Bluegrass critical access to more customers on multiple continents.
I reported in August that Bluegrass Vascular had received the CE Mark, or European regulatory approval, for its Surfacer device. Niederauer said the process of securing that approval took years of product development, testing and clinical evaluation. That clearance allowed Bluegrass Vascular to team with a prominent distributor with strong ties to the American and European markets.
Fred Lampropoulos, chairman and CEO of Merit Medical, said the San Antonio company's Surfacer device addresses an unmet need in vascular care.
Niederauer said Merit Medical's leadership has displayed a "high sense of urgency to bring novel products to market," and the Surfacer System complements the company's current portfolio.
"In the hands of Merit Medical, the Surfacer System can be provided throughout Europe and treat patients that need this live-saving technology," she added.