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Plexus and SRI International Form Strategic Alliance

Originally Published MPMN October 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

Plexus and SRI International Form Strategic Alliance
Susan Wallace

Product development company, Plexus Corp. (Neenah, WI; www.plexus.com) and independent research institute SRI International (Menlo Park, CA; www.sri.com) have announced an alliance to help medical technology companies bring new products to market.

The idea for the joint venture came about when development-stage biotech company Lipid Sciences (Pleasanton, CA; www.lipidsciences.com) sought the services of both companies. Lipid Sciences’s technologies are based on a patented process, called delipidation, which selectively and rapidly removes lipids from targeted proteins circulating in blood plasma without disrupting protein function.

The delipidation process is aimed at developing treatments for the reversal of atherosclerosis and thus reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The company believes this process may also provide an effective therapy against many infectious agents, including the viruses that cause AIDS, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, SARS, and West Nile disease.

However, Lipid Sciences’s core competency lies in the research and development of the delipidation process. So it turned to SRI and Plexus independently to partner to build the associated medical device prototype.

SRI has been developing technologies for the medical device industry for more than 20 years. Its team of researchers and scientists can “innovate on demand,” says John Bashkin, PhD, one of the company’s directors of business development.

As a research institute, SRI doesn’t manufacture products. Therefore, for the Lipid Sciences project they teamed with Plexus. Plexus takes the underlying science and “gets it to a point where we can wrap a product around it,” says Phil Salditt, director of customer development for Plexus.

The integration of services offered by the two companies and structured project management give the customer a single point of contact for complex projects and access to a broad set of scientists, engineers, and manufacturing experts.

“We offer complementary capabilities that allow companies to focus on core competencies and intellectual property and leave commercialization to us,” says Salditt. “Having one interface to the customer simplifies the supplier-management task.”

Lipid Sciences agrees. The collaboration is “a powerful way to get the skill sets you need in a cost-effective manner,” says Marc Bellotti, the company’s vice president of R&D.

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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