Gore acquires maker of ultrasound components

April 18, 2005

W. L. Gore & Associates, best known in the medical world for its fluoropolymer-based surgical products, has acquired ultrasound manufacturer Tetrad.

W. L. Gore & Associates, best known in the medical world for its fluoropolymer-based surgical products, has acquired ultrasound manufacturer Tetrad.

Under terms of the agreement, implemented March 31, Tetrad will function as a wholly owned subsidiary of Gore and maintain its operations in Englewood, CO. Details, including the price of the acquisition, were not disclosed.

The companies describe the union as synergistic. Gore and Tetrad both serve medical OEMs involved in ultrasound technology. Both have expertise with interconnector cable systems.

Gore manufactures cable assemblies, while Tetrad produces ultrasound transducers, probes, and imaging systems. Before the acquisition, Tetrad had been using the Gore Medical Probe Cable Assemblies in its probes.

"To make a complete probe, you need those two pieces, the cable assemblies and transducers,"said Tetrad president and CEO Said Azim, Ph.D.. "As we advance the technology, the intricacies of making these interconnections and of increasing performance require tighter integration and cooperation between the interconnect supplier and the transducer supplier. That's what this acquisition will bring."

Azim believes the arrangement will enhance Tetrad's capabilities.

"This will provide us with more people and more technical resources," he said. "Before, we were a small company and we were operating like a small company. Now, all of our resource needs will be addressed."

Tetrad has 55 employees, all working in one location. Gore has 7000 employees at 45 locations across the world with headquarters in Newark, DE. Gore generates annual sales of nearly $2 billion. Azim said the now-combined capabilities represent strong technical synergy.

"Gore is an extremely strong company when it comes to materials," he said. "That is how it has made its name. There will be many opportunities to take advantage of that in our future developments of ultrasound products."

The proprietary technologies Gore has developed based on the polymer polytetrafluoroethylene have made the company a world-class manufacturer of fluoropolymer-based surgical and medical OEM products. Its portfolio includes products for electronic signal transmission, fabric laminates, and medical implants. It also produces membrane, filtration, sealant, and fiber technologies for various industries.

Tetrad is a major supplier of medical ultrasound probes, imaging systems, and surgical products for end users and international OEMs. The company made its mark by pioneering unique probe concepts, such as articulated rotating laparoscopic probes, integrated laparoscopic biopsy, and miniature laparoscopic probes. The firm's acquisition by Gore widens the scope of Tetrad's manufacturing resources.

"We now have resources for manufacturing in several plants in the U.S. and in Europe and Asia," Azim said.

Tetrad serves customers in three market areas: customers who license a specific technology for use in foreign countries, small companies that purchase only transducers, and large OEMS that buy probes and transducers for integration into their own ultrasound systems.

For the most part, Tetrad has done business with larger organizations, and Azim said the acquisition will finally eliminate the major question that colored almost all of its business relationships.

"When you have big customers, they always wonder whether your company is big enough to be a reliable supplier for the long run," he said. "That question goes away now that we've become part of Gore. We've added manufacturing capabilities and can enter into long-term agreements beneficial to both sides."