Published by Thomas Lee, Detroit Editor and National Med Tech Editor for Xconomy

June 29, 2011

Stryker has not been shy about shopping for acquisitions of late. Last year, the Kalamazoo, MI-based company bought Boston Scientific’s neurovascular unit for a cool $1.5 billion, its most high profile (and expensive) deal in recent memory.

But I’d argue Stryker’s most significant purchase of late occurred in 2009 when the medical device maker bought Ascent Healthcare Solutionsfor the relatively small sum of $525 million.

Why? Ascent is one of the nation’s largest recyclers of single-use medical devices and the natural scourge of new medical device makers like…Stryker. In this corner of the medical device business, companies like Ascent and SterilMed take previously used devices like ultrasound catheters and compression sleeves, spruce them up, and sell them back to hospitals. That process, known in the trade as reprocessing, obviously cuts into sales of original device manufacturers…

…“In order to compete, we have to offer more than just innovative products but also cost savings,” Kaminsky says. “We want to be the wingman to hospitals.”

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