Edinburgh’s Aircraft Medical sold in $110m deal

Aircraft Medical founder Matt McGrath
Aircraft Medical founder Matt McGrath
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Aircraft Medical, the Edinburgh-based healthcare device maker, has been acquired by Irish medical technology company Medtronic for $110 million (£72m) in cash.

The Scots company, founded in 2001 by chief executive Matt McGrath, produces video laryngoscopes, ­devices fitted with cameras that help medics to put breathing tubes down patients’ throats.

Dublin-based Medtronic said the takeover would expand its portfolio of products aimed at dealing with respiratory problems.Additional terms of the cash acquisition deal were not disclosed yesterday.

McGrath said: “We are pleased to be joining the Medtronic team as we strive to provide the McGrath video laryngoscope platform to many more patients around the world.”

Steve Blazejewski of New York-listed Medtronic added: “Aircraft Medical’s offerings complement our portfolio, helping us further our commitment to reducing incidents and potential complications from respiratory compromise globally.

The company’s laryngoscopes will play an important role in our airways portfolio as we develop and provide meaningful innovations that improve patient outcomes.”

Born and raised on Benbecula, McGrath went to university in Newcastle before his professional career led to a post with a product design consultancy in New York.

It was while there that he read the design brief for a new laryngoscope that would become Aircraft Medical’s McGrath series of products.

The company turned it first profit in 2009 but then fell back into the red amid mounting fees from fighting off patent challenges from Verathon, a US rival. Aircraft Medical returned to profitability in 2013 after winning cases in the US and the UK. A multi-national distribution agreement in 2011 with Ireland’s Covidien took Aircraft Medical’s proprietary video laryngoscope into the US, Japan, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Covidien was taken over by Medtronic earlier this year, paving the way for the subsequent acquisition of Aircraft Medical. The company, which has its manufacturing site in Dalgety Bay, has been financed by private investors, the Princes Trust, the Wellcome Trust, Scottish Enterprise and Clydesdale Bank.

Its board was chaired by pharmaceuticals and medical devices industry veteran Bryan Morton, who was joined by non-executive directors Malcolm Gillies and Charles Spicer, along with finance director Alison Williamson and Philippa Montgomerie, commercial director and general counsel.

Medtronic is one of the world’s largest medical technology groups, with more than 85,000 employees around the world. It serves physicians, hospitals and patients in some 160 countries.