September 18, 2018
aerlingus

Subsidy for Dublin Flights to Likely Reach $30 Million By 2020

By Mitchell Young WINDSOR LOCKS: A potential $4 billion state budget deficit wasn’t enough to persuade the Malloy administration to end Connecticut’s subsidy of flights from Bradley International Airport to Dublin, Ireland.…
September 19, 2018
1st Alliance

Citing “Excessive" New State Regulation, Mortgage Lender, Halts Expansion…

EAST HARTFORD: A growing and expanding mortgage company has halted its expansion and new headquarters after a dispute with the Connecticut Banking Department. 1st Alliance Lending LLC announced it’s terminating a planned…
September 19, 2018
slot

Springfield Casino Draws Big – Connecticut Casinos See Small Slot Dips

SPRINGFIELD, MA., LEDYARD: While the Connecticut and now Massachusetts casinos go head to head, the tax coffers of both states remain big winners. The newly opened [August 24] MGM Casino in Springfield reported $9,456,976.90…
September 12, 2018
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Energy and Jobs Report As Environmental Groups Challenge State Over…

HARTFORD: Just as the state and environmental groups face off in Federal Court on Thursday September 13 over moves to cut back on energy efficiency programs, a new report outlines the scope of the industry in Connecticut.…
September 12, 2018
tickets

Connecticut Tickets Companies Sue New York AG

HARTFORD: Two Connecticut ticket sales company, TicketNetwork and Ticket Galaxy have filed lawsuits against acting New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood. The company’s are asking for a declaratory judgement against New…
September 12, 2018
Unemployment Benefits

Connecticut Boosts Maximum Unemployment Benefit

HARTFORD: Tight labor market or not Connecticut is raising its maximum weekly unemployment benefit by $18. This is the highest amount allowed under law, the increase will take the current maximum of $613 to $631, effective…

Connecticut Home Sales and Prices Take Off

Aug 29, 2018
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HARTFORD: Continuing good news for home sellers and Realtors Single-family home sales in Connecticut increased in July on a…

CBIA Launches Statewide Issues-Based Public Awareness Campaign

Aug 29, 2018
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HARTFORD: As a new campaign for governor and competing visons for Connecticut take hold, the Connecticut Business and…

Women Owned Businesses Increase Across The US – Connecticut Lags

Aug 29, 2018
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In a new report commissioned by American Express shows women across the state are making a big impact on the Nutmeg economy…

High Speed Fiber Internet - Expands Connecticut Foothold To New Haven

Aug 29, 2018
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NEW HAVEN: High speed Internet access will be coming to select neighborhoods in New Haven, with the potential for expansion…

Another Day Older And Deeper In Debt

Aug 29, 2018
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By Joel Schiavone Connecticut State expenses for employee benefits current and past have gone from 10% of the budget to 30%…

New Haven Today, But Tomorrow – Two Views

Jul 23, 2018
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The streets of the City of New Haven are well packed with young people and even suburbanites for the first time in decades.…

Non-Profit Water Company Makes “Venture” Investment In Indoor Farming Company

Jul 19, 2018
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MERIDEN, NEW HAVEN: The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) announced a $500,000 investment in…

Road Show On Federal Funding of Tech - Coming To New Haven

Jul 20, 2018
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NEW HAVEN: The SBIR Road Tour is coming to New Haven on Tuesday, August 21, to convey the "nondilutive technology funding…

Connecticut Disses Eversource New Offer and Resubmits Original Merger to Regulators

Jul 23, 2018
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CLINTON: The Connecticut Water Service [Nasdaq: CTWS] is moving forward with their merger plans with its cross-country…

New Haven Biotech Inks $150 Million Cash Now - Deal

Jun 20, 2018
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NEW HAVEN: Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. [NYSE: BHVN] based in the city’s downtown has just shown the wisdom…

Health

Medical Practice Consultants Relocate to Shelton

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SHELTON: U.S. Vascular Management Group of Trumbull has leased 8,600 SF of premier office space at International Place, 6 Research Drive in Shelton.…

Quinnipiac Appoints Dean of Nursing School

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NORTH HAVEN : Lisa G. O’Connor of East Haddam has been appointed Dean, of the School of Nursing at Quinnipiac University, O’Connor had been associate…

Hartford HealthCare To Acquire Bridgeport’s St. Vincent's Medical Center

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BRIDGEPORT: St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport and its parent Ascension Health have signed a non-binding letter of intent with Hartford…

Anti-Marijuana Organization Cites Potential Costs to Legalization

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HARTFORD: While Advocates for legalization of recreational use of Marijuana in Connecticut cite economic benefit to the state an anti-legalization…

Advocates for marijuana sales point to big economic boost

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By: Keith M. Phaneuf |ctmirror.org Advocates for legalizing recreational marijuana use in Connecticut — and taxing its sales — are hoping a holistic,…

Breaking down this year’s Access Health CT open enrollment

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By: MACKENZIE RIGG | ctmirror.org In all, 114,134 residents enrolled in private health insurance through the state’s health insurance exchange,…

Wallingford Medical Device Company Launches Product To Control Internal…

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WALINGFORD: Z-Medica, LLC, a developer of hemostatic devices, announced that QuikClot Control+® approved by the FDA in June of 2017 is now…

Children's Hospital Invests In Mass. Biotech

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HARTFORD: Connecticut Children's Medical Center has made an investment in a small Massachusetts based biotech company Biostage, Inc. [OTCQB:…

State Seeks More Medical Marijuana Sellers

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HARTFORD: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be trying to arrest the increase in marijuana sales in states across the country, but Connecticut is…

Chester Retirement Community Sold

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CHESTER: Chester Village West set on 55 acres with 105 cottages and apartments was purchased by Masonicare, based in Wallingford, the state’s largest…

Technology

High Speed Fiber Internet - Expands Connecticut Foothold To New Haven

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NEW HAVEN: High speed Internet access will be coming to select neighborhoods in New Haven, with the potential for expansion to other areas.…

Stamford Creates An “Innovation Playground” For Start-Up And Large…

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By Thomas Madden, AICP, Director of Economic Development, Stamford Stamford is preparing to be the city of tomorrow through a repeating $2 million…

Imaging Company Purchases Headquarters Building

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STRATFORD: Kubtec Digital X-Ray has purchased a freestanding building at 111 Research Drive for $1.045 million. The building, on 0.67 acre,…

Road Show On Federal Funding of Tech - Coming To New Haven

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NEW HAVEN: The SBIR Road Tour is coming to New Haven on Tuesday, August 21, to convey the "nondilutive technology funding opportunity" provided…

Non-Profit Water Company Makes “Venture” Investment In Indoor Farming…

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MERIDEN, NEW HAVEN: The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) announced a $500,000 investment in Meriden-based Trifecta…

Legacy AV Company Shows Its Stuff With New Headquarters

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NORTH HAVEN: HB Communications, founded in 1946 is an audiovisual communication solutions company, has opened the doors to its newly renovated…

Tech Firm Relocates To Shelton Office Building

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SHELTON, Dark Field Technologies has relocated their headquarters from Orange to Shelton, according to Jon Angel, president of Angel Commercial,…

New Haven Architects’ Design One of Six Selected for review for uberAIR…

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NEW HAVEN, LOS ANGELES: New Haven based Pickard Chilton working with Arup, Corgan, and The Beck Group was selected as one of six leading architecture…

Connecticut Innovations Funds 43 Companies in Final 2017 Quarter

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ROCKY HILL: Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s venture capital arm and what they say is the “leading source of financing and ongoing support…

Fox Network Prevails Against Fairfield Video Search Company In Court

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FAIRFIELD: TVEyes, Inc. has lost in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to Fox News Network, LLC, a decision preventing the…

Real Estate & Construction

Kitchen Retailer Buys Building and Will Relocate

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NORTH HAVEN: Kitchen Advantage, LLC, will relocate their kitchen design showroom to 276-278 State Street, from their Washington Avenue location. The…

Medical Office Building Picked Up By New Jersey Developer

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PLAINVILLE: The Medical Office Building at 440 New Britain Avenue, a 27,685 square foot facility sold for $5.5 million. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler,…

EB Leases Building From The Mashantuckets

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NORTH STONINGTON: The Electric Boat Corp has signed a lease for a 125,000 square feet including 72,439 square foot high bay warehouse space at…

Merger Gives Architectural Firm Access To California Market

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GLASTONBURY: The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM), architects with offices in Connecticut, Georgia, New York and Massachusetts announced a merger with…

AIA Architype Magazine - September 2018

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The Digital Magazine of AIA Connecticut SEPTEMBER 2018 In this issue: Building the Future of AIA Connecticut Member Spotlight: Hoffmann Architects…

Suburban Office Complex Sells

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GUILFORD: Pearce Commercial Real Estate’s Joel Gavin sold a 13,440 square foot building at 405 Church Street for $1.8 million. The property was…

Mayne Added To GZA As Project Manager (2)

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GLASTONBURY: GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., has added Branford resident Christopher Mayne as an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Project Manager in…

Promotional Products Company Buys New Building For Expansion

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CHESHIRE: Darter Properties, LLC purchased the 12,875 square foot industrial / flex building at 500 Cornwall Avenue adjacent to its existing…

What’s Trending in CT’s Design/Construction Industry

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By Amar Shamas, Gilbane Building Company In a few short months, the people of Connecticut will choose their next governor. The viewpoint and policies…

Bond’s New Haven Connecticut Office Expands; Adds Building Team

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BOND'S Ramos Expands New Haven Team NEW HAVEN: BOND, A Boston based building, civil, utility and energy construction firm has expanded and its New…

Government

Springfield Casino Draws Big – Connecticut Casinos See Small Slot Dips

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SPRINGFIELD, MA., LEDYARD: While the Connecticut and now Massachusetts casinos go head to head, the tax coffers of both states remain big winners.…

Another Day Older And Deeper In Debt

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By Joel Schiavone Connecticut State expenses for employee benefits current and past have gone from 10% of the budget to 30% over the past few years.…

CBIA Launches Statewide Issues-Based Public Awareness Campaign (2)

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HARTFORD: As a new campaign for governor and competing visons for Connecticut take hold, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association [CBIA] is…

New Haven Today, But Tomorrow – Two Views

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The streets of the City of New Haven are well packed with young people and even suburbanites for the first time in decades. Apartment rehabs and new…

The Collapse of New Haven

Joel image
By Joel Schiavone Enjoy your summer. This is the lull before the storm. Campaigning begins in earnest for state and local elections which will…

Mr. Smith Wants to Go to Hartford

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OPINION: By Mitchell Young Or does he? Webster Bank Chairman and former CEO James Smith said on April 6 he wants to be Connecticut’s next Governor,…

Joel Schiavone: New Haven What Road To Where

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Joel Schiavone in New Haven magazine's first profile in 2007, on the Chaple Street that he layed the foundation for. Perhaps more than any single…

90's Era New Haven Developer Bob Mathews Indicted For EB 5 Visa "Scheme"…

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The estate of former New Haven Developer Bob Mathews, now under federal indictment. The home was priced for auction at $26.5 million, but has been…

A Global Healthcare Giant Engineers and Builds New In Connecticut

By Mitchell Young

stapler headNORTH HAVEN: Leon Hirsch was hoping to get his entrepreneurial dreams flying in 1963 in the helicopter parts business, when he came across a device described as a “surgical stapler” in a meeting at a patent broker.

The device seemed poorly designed to Hirsch, but he quickly understood its utility in providing a surgeon an alternative to sutures and “needle and thread” stitching.

Soon Hirsch had outfitted a prototype in his basement, and in 1964, he started the fledgling United States Surgical Corporation with four employees.

Hirsch’s early innovation helped to change how surgeries were performed, and his company, would become one of Connecticut’s most successful "start-ups” ever.

More than four decades later the “company” has stitched together its accumulated knowledge of Minimally Invasive Surgery MIS, [entering the body cavity through small incisions or even existing orifices], with advanced engineering, electronics and manufacturing techniques.  

Today’s innovation is an entirely new device with the introduction of a new generation of surgical stapler – The Signia (TM) Stapling System, built by the successor company Medtronic.

USS grew to about $1 million in sales by 1967, but demand for the new approach would continue and by 1983, the company was capturing $160 million in sales and playing an important role in how surgeons were revolutionizing many surgeries.

The company’s fortunes in 1983 were already well set, but they were about to take off as MIS was emerging as a preferred approach around the world.

The use of some minimally invasive techniques can be traced back to Hippocrates, but widespread usage began in the 1980s. Today from Cancer to Bariatric to Gall Bladder surgery, minimally invasive surgeries, typically referred to as laparoscopic are nearly always the preferred option.

For example, more than 600,000 laparoscopic Gall Bladder surgeries are performed in the U.S. alone each year and the company’s surgical staplers for closing wounds became an essential tool for the new MIS surgery techniques.

By 1998 Tyco then primarily a “security” systems company was moving into Healthcare and it purchased USS then with revenue of approximately $1.7 billion for $3.3 billion.

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Manual Medtronic Surgical Stapler Powered Medtronic Signia Surgical Stapler

TYCO would spin out its healthcare business in 2007 forming Covidien and basing it in Ireland.

Covidien is a corporate name well known in Connecticut and the company and its employees have been cited numerous times for their community support efforts, earning in 2013 a Citizenship award from Business New Haven as a Healthcare Hero in greater New Haven. The North Haven operations continued to grow as Covidien as it developed its stapler and MIS group in North Haven.

In 2015 Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) purchased Covidien for nearly $50 billion.

With each acquisition, concerns were raised in Connecticut about the durability of the company’s operations in the Nutmeg State. Covidien has become a major and signature employer in Connecticut, but Dublin based Medtronic with more than 90,000 employees world-wide would seem to have many options for growing the company.

The story of the Medtronic’s Signia (TM) Stapling System will give some pause to those concerns. Medtronic has just about 50% of the world-wide surgical stapler market, and until now the vast majority of those staplers have been mechanical devices. Additionally given the rigors and rules of healthcare procedure, each would be disposed of after a single use, an anathema in today’s growing “sustainability” culture.

We talked with Ethan Loiselle Senior Director Powered & Open Surgical Staplers at Medtronic in North Haven. He told us that, “ninety five percent of Medtronic customers are still using a mechanical manual surgical stapling device,” the current devices are more advanced but essentially similar to the simpler devices used in 1993, he added  “it has been the standard for more than twenty years.”

The Signia System is a total departure, explained Loiselle, “this is a handheld computer, it has memory, microchips, motors, it is all a self contained device and it can be used for 300 procedures”, adding “it replaces a device good for only one procedure and then it is thrown out­, because it is not steralizable.”

One of the important innovations, is simply placing the electronic stapler into a sterile shell, [see video] while the shell also can’t be sterilized, it is an inexpensive part and allows for the powered stapler itself, to be reused. 

Loiselle explained that the company is constantly taking input from surgeons and that guided the development of the new product. For example with the new system, feedback is provided that tells the surgeon about the tissue within the “jaws” of the device.  In a manual stapler, the surgeon would make a judgment on the tissue, based on what they saw on a video monitor or a cue from how the device handle felt when they squeezed it. 

The surgeon can also control the full operation of the stapler with one finger and rotate the “head”, it is an important ergonomic improvement. Many surgeons are doing a high volume of operations over many years, the mechanical devices can have an effect over time on the surgeon’s own hands, as they have to squeeze down to make a mechanical staple.

The mechanical devices also require both hands to operate, now one hand is free for something else.

“The benefits from MIS are great for patients but from a surgical perspective in some cases, it can be little more complicated, what Signia does is give that feedback on the tissue thickness, that they never had before in a manual device,” explained Loiselle.

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Loiselle and Chow in the development lab at Medtronic's North Haven campus


Engineered and Built in Connecticut

“We manufacture here in Connecticut but sell it around the world, and this [product] costs a tremendous amount more to manufacture than the old standard,” says Loiselle, but he adds “because it is good for three hundred cases, it allows us to amortize [the costs] over its life.  And our goal, is that over time surgeons can do more with it, different and more surgeries.”

Although some on Wall Street refer to certain Medtronic products as healthcare “widgets” the demands on surgical instruments place them in a different category than many products.

According to Yee Chow, Manager, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, reliability testing is a core issue, and it is at the heart of the groups manufacturing and design efforts. He explained , “initially the device was accepted for two hundred uses, and now it has received clearance for three hundred. The adapter is good for twenty uses, but the engineering team is aiming for fifty uses.”

The Signia only first came unto the market in the US, Europe and Japan this past November [2016]. According to Loiselle, adoption of new devices among surgeons typically takes time, “those that have taken a shot are happy, what we’ve seen is that surgeons say, [at first] this may take ten or fifteen cases for me to understand, but they use it in two or three cases and  say ‘this is much easier,’ there is very little learning curve.”

Chow explained how the Connecticut group developed the product, “It started in 2009, we acquired a first generation device from a small company and we manufactured that in house with a very small group. This [Signia] is in essence a third generation product, now we have the skill sets in soldering, putting the electronics together and in testing. It’s been more than seven years, we started back in ’09, in the warehouse”.

Loiselle adds, “when we started in power, we were definitely the entrepreneurial group within.  We ship about five million of the standard units, you can imagine the scale of that manufacturing.”

Chow said “we had a small team here and a small team in manufacturing, doing things that were very highly skilled, that we had never done before.”  He also explained that the group engineered the product, but they also designed and built many of the machines that assemble and test the device as well.

In a demonstration this reporter watched,  every part and assembly was tested as the product moved through the manufacturing process. One test that caught our attention, a small part was weighed to be sure the proper amount of grease had been added.

“At the time [2009] the [leadership] decided they wanted to have the competencies here.  We started on a smaller scale developing the skill sets and branching out. This lab and [manufacturing unit] and our reliability lab that was a decision to have that expertise here. The skill sets we needed were skills you can get in a lot of places. Being able to manufacture a stapler is a skill set you can’t get anywhere else,” said Chow.

Loiselle added, “we and one other company make 95% of the [surgical] staplers used around the world, now we have a center of excellence for power”, adding, “we expect the [power] products to be the majority of our business in the next five to ten years.”

Both Chow and Loiselle emphasized that the company understood and supported their efforts.

Loiselle explained, Medtronic [executives] have said ‘whatever you’ve been doing as Covidien, you’ve been doing it well and right, just let us know if you need help’, holistically there hasn’t been a lot of change.”