Sunrise stent maker to launch in U.S., add jobs [Sun Sentinel]
(South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 08--Bolton Medical announced Tuesday that it has launched distribution of its stents in the U.S., and will add sales, manufacturing and engineering employees.
The Sunrise-based company is a homegrown success story that already employs 110 after adding 30 positions last year. It has plans to add another 20 to 30 jobs in the next two years.
Bolton's expansion follows FDA approval last September of a stent designed to prevent thoracic aorta aneurysms. The implanted stent bypasses the weakened wall of the aorta, the body's largest artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
The regulatory approval is "a change in the game," said Oscar Rospigliosi, chief executive of Bolton Medical, a subsidiary of a Spanish company.
Rospigliosi said the stent, which the company manufacturers at its plant in Sawgrass Corporate Park in Sunrise, has been sold in Europe, Argentina and China thus far, and has been implanted in 7,000 patients worldwide.
He declined to project sales, but said the U.S. market is about 15,000 patients, and growing by 6 percent to 7 percent a year. The company also hopes to get approval to distribute in Japan.
Bolton Medical conducted initial clinical trials involving 30 patients and a larger trial with 120 patients with South Florida hospitals, including Holy Cross Hospital and Baptist Healthcare, the company said.
The company is a subsidiary of The Werfen Group of Barcelona, but was originally founded in Sunrise in 2003.
Tom Kennedy, president of the South Florida Manufacturers Association, said Bolton Medical is the type of company that South Florida needs. The jobs are "high-tech and high-paying" and the company is creating "life-saving products," he said.
Bob Swindell, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Broward County's economic development agency, said he expects Bolton's job creation to continue beyond the 30 jobs announced. "We expect those numbers to be eclipsed," he said.
The new jobs will pay an average wage of $48,690, according to the company's incentive agreement with the state and City of Sunrise. The city is providing up to $30,000 in incentives. Bolton also qualifies for $90,000 in tax-refund incentives once the jobs are created.
Gov. Rick Scott made the jobs announcement on Tuesday and took a tour of the manufacturing plant, donning a clean-room coat to pose with enthusiastic employees.
One challenge to the growth of Bolton and other medical device companies is the medical device tax on sales mandated by the new Affordable Care Act.
"The tax is going to be horrible for these companies, for these jobs, but also horrible for patients," said Scott in an interview at Bolton. The 2.3 percent tax on sales would ultimately increase health care costs for consumers.
Rospigliosi said the tax could slow innovation at firms such as Bolton, which also is developing an abdominal stent to address ulcers and other stomach issues.
Bolton established a sales center in Barcelona in 2004, but plans to add a sales force in Sunrise for U.S. distribution.
About 350 Spanish companies operate in Florida, with 80 percent of them in South Florida, said Mario Buisan, trade commissioner for Spain in Coral Cables.
Fredda Acuna, 35, joined Bolton in 2003 and now works as a buyer in Sunrise. She said U.S. distribution of the product will expand her role.
"I saw the potential that this company could grow," said Acuna.
To apply for jobs at Bolton Medical, e-mail human resources director Donna Bean at email@example.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org, or 561-243-6650
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