Nick Higgins,
Corporate Development Director

Diversification for growth

I joined Consort Medical in 2010, with a brief to help develop a strategy and then implement that strategy for growth. As well as looking at organic growth from a very stable platform, we’ve been looking at a variety of other business options including acquisitions, strategic alliances, where we might take a minority share in a company or form a joint venture, as well as a variety of alliances, licensing, preferred partnerships arrangements and such like.

Today I’d like to focus on what we’re doing to help grow the Bespak division. I work very closely with the innovations team in Cambridge and what we’ve been doing is looking at how Bespak’s core competencies in the design and development of high volume, high value medical devices, all within a regulated market can be used to help grow the division.

Historically, Bespaks has been involved almost exclusively with respiratory drug delivery. It’s been involved with concept design, prototype development, design for manufacturing and eventually high volume manufacturing of these devices. In 2009 with the acquisition of The Medical House we broadened the offering to include injectable devices. As well as customised devices for a number of clients we also have our own proprietary device, which is being prepared at the moment for high volume manufacture.

We’ve also been looking at two other areas of drug delivery, nasal and ocular. And although this is a fairly recent initative we already have concept devices for both. For all drug delivery devices we’ve been looking at the opportunity to fill the device. This complete solution of device and drug, we think will be enormously attractive to a range of customers. Our most recent initiative is in the area of point of care diagnostics; although this is outside of the historical focus of Bespak of drug delivery it does use bespak’s core skills in high volume manufacturing. This is an area of very high growth and we believe it could be enormously important to Bespak going forward.

Our entry into the point of care diagnostic market makes an interesting example of how we’re now doing business. Point of care diagnostics is all about being able to diagnose a patient in the doctor’s office; it consists usually of a small instrument and a high volume disposable element. Our interest at bespak is in the manufacturing of the disposable element, which are needed in tens of millions every year.

We had a look at a number of ways of getting involved in this area and we identified a company, Atlas Genetics, who have developed an ultra-rapid technology for diagnosing certain diseases. The product was relatively advanced they’d already got to the prototype stage and shown it worked and it was ready for Bespak to bring it’s design for manufacturing skills, ready for high volume manufacture. In order to get ourselves more familiar with what to us was a new area, we decided to take a strategic investment in Atlas Genetics. So, Consort Medical has a 20% share holding and at the same time Bespak secured a long-term development and manufacturing agreement. I think Atlas is just one example of how we’re using our strategy of diversification, while using our core skills, to move into areas of high-growth and high potential.