Medtronic Scoops Up NJ-based Tyrx for $160M

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Medical device startup Tyrx hinted last year that it wanted to do some growing on its own before entertaining the idea of an IPO or a sale. Apparently, however, a $160 million offer from med tech giant Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) was too much to pass up.

Tyrx today announced that it has been acquired by Medtronic in an all-cash deal. Medtronic will pay $160 million up front for the Monmouth Junction, NJ-based company, and has tied certain unspecified performance-based milestones to the deal as well. The acquisition is good news for Tyrx’s investors, which include HLM Venture Partners, Clarus Ventures, Pappas Ventures, and the MemorialCare Innovation Fund (a strategic investment company owned by MemorialCare Health System). Tyrx CEO Robert White told Xconomy in July the company had received just over $50 million in venture funding since the company’s inception in 1998.

Medtronic is buying up Tyrx for its AigisRx Antibacterial Envelope, a drug-device combination used to prevent infections in patients getting an implantable electronic cardiac device such as a pacemaker or defibrillator. The device releases two antibiotics— rifampin and minocycline—into the system over the course of seven to 10 days and then dissolves completely over about 90 days.

White said in July that though the company had brought in about $30 million in total revenue since it began selling its first product in 2008, Tyrx was on track for about $20 million in annual revenue at the time and might become cash flow positive by the end of the year. Medtronic didn’t disclose any sales figures today for Tyrx.

Tyrx was formed about 15 years ago out of technology licensed from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. The idea was to deliver drugs into the body by combining them with polymers that are “bioresorbable,” meaning the body can break them down on its own. Tyrx used that concept to create a product that protects people from getting potentially fatal infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, when they get a pacemaker or defibrillator. The idea was by doing so, it would cut down on lengthy, expensive hospital stays for patients who contract infections following implantation procedures.

Tyrx won FDA approval of the first version of the AigisRx in 2008. The device is a small orange mesh sock that covers a pacemaker before it’s surgically implanted. The first version of the product, approved by the FDA in 2008, is only partially resorbed by the body and leaves a substrate that remains with the pacemaker over the long-term. The new version, approved by the FDA in July, dissolves completely.

At the time, White said the company was hoping to “enjoy some growth for awhile” before selling the company or going public. That all changed today, however.

“We look forward to joining Medtronic as part of a combined portfolio that can positively impact outcomes for patients by reducing implant-related infections, and bring value to our customers,” White said in a statement.

Ben Fidler is Xconomy's Deputy Biotechnology Editor. You can e-mail him at bfidler@xconomy.com Follow @benthefidler

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