October 31, 2007

Health care venture capital firm, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, Inc, New York, announced that Essex, along with industry veterans Greg Nelson and Andrew Meyers, acquired a majority interest in Bledsoe Brace Systems.

Gary Bledsoe, CEO of Bledsoe Brace, has retained a substantial equity interest and will remain president of the company, reports a news release from Bledsoe Brace Systems.

Nelson will join Beldsoe’s senior management team as chairman and CEO, Meyers as EVP of business development and has also added Joel Radtke as CFO. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Bledsoe, headquartered in Grand Parairie, Texas, was founded in 1982 and reports that its products are used both domestically and internationally by orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, orthotists, and physical therapists to address musculoskeletal disorders of their patients by supporting and protecting injured or weakened joints.

Nelson, a founder and senior executive at two of the leading orthopedic bracing companies, DonJoy, Inc. (now DJO) and BREG, Inc (now a subsidiary of Orthofix), states “I’ve been a participant in this industry for a long time and have always admired Bledsoe as a leader in designing some of the most innovative bracing products in the business.  I am excited about the tremendous growth opportunities ahead for this team, and I am proud to be part of the effort.”

Meyers joins the Bledsoe team with 25 years as a senior health care executive and entrepreneur in the orthotic products and services market. According to a statement from Beldsoe, Meyers has deep experience in growing public and private organizations through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Most recently, Meyers served as president, CEO of Langer, Inc, a publicly-traded company that sells personal care products in both the orthopedic and skincare markets.

Meyers was quoted in the Bledsoe statement: “I share Greg and Gary’s vision to build Bledsoe into a differentiated orthopedic company. My history and relationships on both the customer and product side of the orthotics business will be well-suited to the growth opportunities ahead of us.”

Joel Radtke is characterized by Bledsoe sources as a professional who brings more than a decade of Wall Street health care finance expertise to the Bledsoe team. His experience in acquiring and financing healthcare companies spans a wide range of healthcare sectors, including pharmaceuticals, distribution, specialty medical products and healthcare information technology. “I’m thrilled to be joining forces with such an experienced and successful management team and am looking forward to helping build something very special in this market,” Radtke says.

Brett Bledsoe will continue as director of research and development, while Barry Bledsoe continues as director of quality control. Marsh Moore will continue as vice president of sales and marketing.

“With decades of experience, this team has never been matched in the orthopedic rigid brace market.  Essex is excited to partner with Greg Nelson, Gary Bledsoe, Andrew Meyers, and the whole Bledsoe team to help drive Bledsoe Brace to the next level of its growth” said Mark Pacala, a managing director at Essex. Pacala and Scott Barry from Essex will be joining the Bledsoe board of directors.

Source: Bledsoe Brace Systems