Ethicon buys gynaecology and obstetrics firm

Medical Company Restructures

Ethicon, the medical device company owned by Johnson and Johnson, has bought Vascular Control Systems, a firm devoted to producing gynaecological and obstetric medical products for the treatment of fibroids.

Vascular Control Systems said the terms of the agreement would not be revealed, but it stated that Ethicon was interested in its uterine artery occlusion treatment, designed to provide a minimally-invasive alternative to existing treatments.

Sheri S. McCoy, Johnson and Johnson's company group chairman for the Ethicon franchise, said: "This represents a strong, strategic fit with our gynaecological business. The technology and knowledge we'll gain will enable us to expand our ability to create new therapies for women."

Fibroids are benign growths occurring in the uterus that occur in approximately 25 per cent of white women and 50 per cent of African women. According to the US Fibroid Embolisation Centre, studies suggest that by the menopause, all women develop very small fibroids. They can cause pain, bleeding and infertility. It is a leading reason for hysterectomies, although many women experience no symptoms from fibroids and no treatment.

Ethicon has several products in its Gynecare product catalogue, including devices for incontinence, endometrial ablation and hysteroscopies. The company's origins lie in Scotland, when an Edinburgh pharmacist, George Merson, began the manufacture of surgical sutures in 1915. The company was merged with Johnson and Johnson in the 1940s, and still retains its UK headquarters in Livingston, near Edinburgh in Scotland's central belt.

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