3B Medical sets stage for product innovation, diversification

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Friday, December 8, 2017

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – You could call 2017 a rebuilding year for 3B Medical.

Until January of 2017, 3B Medical was embroiled in a patent lawsuit with a competing manufacturer of sleep therapy devices, ResMed. The lawsuit spanned 16 actions across three continents, says Alex Lucio, executive vice president at 3B Medical.

“It was a massive litigation for a company our size,” he told HME News. “3B is a product company. We want to work on developing new products and bringing innovative solutions to market. Our ability to do that was at a standstill during the four years of litigation. This was the first year where 3B’s resources could focus entirely on developing new products. It has been a fun and exciting year.”

ResMed and 3B Medical announced a five-year settlement on Jan. 21, 2017, whereby ResMed agreed to make a one-time payment to 3B Medical to close ongoing litigation between the two companies in Florida, and 3B Medical agreed to make royalty payments to ResMed to continue selling its existing products.

Here’s what Lucio had to say about what’s to come for 3B Medical in 2018.

Innovation

Lucio says one area where 3B Medical has focused its new product development: interface technologies. The company has patents pending for silicone gel adhesives that regain their original tack with washing, much like those used in the backless NuBra.

“Once we were able to get an adhesive application to maintain an air seal, we believes that we found a potential way to innovate in this space,” he said. “We hope to make announcements on that front in the second quarter of 2018.”

Diversification

3B Medical made its first foray into oxygen therapy last year, when it launched the Cirrus 5 stationary concentrator. In 2018, the company will set its sights on the portable oxygen concentrator market, Lucio says.

“Realistically, a stationary will always be the smartest choice for when a patient is sleeping as it puts the lion’s share of hours on the lowest cost device—it does not make sense to put 5,000 hours annually on a device that costs more than $2,000, when those hours can be satisfied on devices that cost less than $400,” he said. “Ambulatory patients are a different matter and are making their preference for a portable pretty loud and clear. Every manufacturer is aware of that trend and working on new solutions, and 3B Medical is no different.”

Acquisition

Lucio says 3B Medical is growing its product portfolio internally, but also externally through acquisitions.

“We have looked at acquisitions and are near closing on our first, and we also have a fairly deep new product pipeline,” he said. “We are hoping to announce our first acquisition in the next few weeks.”