Some companies make medical devices; others make drug-eluting products. ProMed Molded Products Inc., aiming to expand beyond its niche business, is doing both.
The privately held Plymouth, Minn.-based company has spent 23 years building on its reputation as a custom molder of silicone devices. It expanded during that time into related fields, such as exotic plastics and micromolding, and jumped into the pharmaceuticals sector by producing drug-eluting devices, essentially a drug molded into a silicone component.
ProMed's interest in that last area was evident when it created a sister company not long ago, ProMed Pharma L.L.C.
"There are very few companies, especially contract manufacturing companies, that can do the drug and the device sorts of components together," said Jim Arps, director of pharma services. "That's one of the unique things around ProMed."
ProMed Pharma manufactures stents, which prop open arteries and deliver a steady stream of medication over time.
Tough requirements for producers of medical devices—from the need for clean rooms and serious analytical testing, to compliance with stringent Food and Drug Administration rules and inspections—discourage many companies from entering the field, ProMed's managers said.
"There are very few contractors or suppliers involved in it," Arps said. "Many companies that are working on this, both large and small, don't have the appetite or the infrastructures to quite develop all those critical capabilities to be able to make these sorts of components."
ProMed President Pete Mangan agrees.
"We are playing in a market not many are playing in," he said.