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Terumo brings urology distribution in house

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James Rushworth at Terumo's offices in Somerset.
James Rushworth at Terumo's offices in Somerset. - (Aaron Houston)

A New Jersey medical device firm is gearing up for expansion.

Terumo Interventional Systems, in the Somerset section of Franklin, said today it will launch a new direct distribution and product support team in April to market its urology products.

The move marks the end of Terumo's nonexclusive distribution relationship with Boston Scientific Corp., which has marketed Terumo's products in the United States since 1991. It's also part of a broader push by the Japanese medical device-maker to more aggressively build market share here.

Terumo Corp. is based in Tokyo, but its U.S. subsidiary and its interventional systems business unit are both based in Somerset. The interventional systems unit makes guidewires, catheters, sheaths and other products for use in interventional procedures.

In 2006, Terumo took its vascular product distribution in-house, but left its other products with Boston Scientific, according to James Rushworth, president of Terumo Interventional and Onset Medical Corp., a California-based device maker Terumo purchased last year.

After success with the vascular transition, Terumo will now do the same with its urology products, hiring about two dozen sales, marketing and support personnel, several of whom will be based in New Jersey.

Terumo will start from a position of strength. Its "Glidewire" line of products makes up 94 percent of the hydrophilic guidewire market in the United States, and Glidewire products are used in roughly one-third of all minimally invasive urological procedures in the U.S., the company said.

But Rushworth said Terumo has more to gain from taking on a direct relationship, rather than using a competitor to distribute its guidewires.

"The reason we chose to take this risk was because we thought we had a really strong, loyal customer base in that segment, and a customer base that has continued to use our products and see the value in our products, even though Boston Scientific had been doing little more than taking orders," he said.

Rushworth said the move also made sense because it allows Terumo to capitalize on the research and development base it gained through the Onset acquisition.

"With Onset, we have an R&D pipeline and some new products we'll be launching immediately with the Glidewire, and some other new products we'll be introducing into 2013 and 2014," he said.

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