A new medical device company launched by well-known local experts is joining forces with the top health care name in the region - Mayo Clinic.
Minnesota Medical Technologies, recently started by Jim and Philip Conway, announced this week that it will collaborate with Mayo Clinic in the development of new fecal incontinence products. As part of the deal, Mayo Clinic will have some ownership of Minnesota Medical Technologies.
The Conways have experience working with Mayo Clinic at their former company, Rochester Medical, which made catheters and urinary incontinence products.
"We are pretty expert in fabricating and designing devices, but we can't pretend to experts in the medical field. That's why working with Mayo Clinic makes sense," said Jim Conway. "It's very likely when we get our first patents, a Mayo Clinic name will also be on it."
The Conway brothers, along with partners Lonnie Boe and Sarah Grinde, are building a 6,500-square-foot pilot manufacturing facility in Stewartville's Schumann Business Park. Jim Conway says the goal is to start using the building sometime in April with early prototype production starting soon after.
"We're shooting to get FDA approval by the end of 2016," he said.
Minnesota Medical is already working on the early groundwork to develop a dual U.S.-European market for these new products. Like when they entered the catheter field in 1989, the Conways see a lot of opportunity to develop better products in area where there is a lot of need.
Fecal incontinence affects an estimated 1 percent to 2 percent of the general population and 40 percent to 50 percent people living in long term care facilities. U.S. sales of fecal incontinence products is predicted to hit $1.9 billion by 2018. Minnesota Medical is targeting 10 percent of U.S. and international sales, a goal they hit with Rochester Medical and urinary incontinence.
Rochester Medical grew into a major international manufacturer with hundreds of local employees and more than $60 million in annual sales. In 2013, the Conways sold it to rival C.R. Baird for $262 million. They signed a five-year, non-compete agreement not to make urinary incontinence products.