One of the larger and more “Western” companies companies we visited on our tour of Taiwan’s medical technology industry is Apex Medical Corp. Along with hundreds of other presenters, it will be featured at the Medicare Taiwan international medical & healthcare exhibition in Taipei City next month. Founded in 1990 as a one-stop-shop for home medical equipment, Apex rapidly grew and went IPO in 2002. Now the company has revenues approaching $80 million with manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and China where it makes a variety of medical products.
The firm has produced OEM devices for years, but its latest mission is to get its name into the medical space by focusing on making its own branded Class II medical equipment. While basic medical equipment has been the bread and butter of Apex, its move into the Class II space was prompted by the increase in copying of Class I devices by mainland Chinese firms. While it may be more difficult to develop and receive approvals for Class II devices, the patent protections and regulations help keep out the competition.
Apex is now mostly producing negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) devices, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) systems, and clinical mattresses that help prevent the formation of decub ulcers. The company also makes pulse oximeters, nebulizers, autoclaves, and a few other clinical products.
The core of Apex revenues comes from its huge line of clinical mattresses, which vary from basic models meant for the home to sensor rich, smart devices with advanced control and reporting capabilities. Most of the mattresses are made out of groups of tubes that inflate and deflate repeatedly to reduce long term pressure on any one part of the body. Some are able to weigh the person laying on top and to adjust the pressure within the series of tubes accordingly. Some have air vents built in that cool and keep patients dry throughout the day and night. Some of these mattresses are even disposable, and are often meant to be used at home by patients undergoing a recovery. Apex is a big name in this business and is focused on becoming one of the top five medical mattress manufacturers in the world.
Within the respiratory management space, Apex makes a half dozen different CPAP machines along with a wide variety of full face and nasal pillows masks, as well as matching humidifiers. It holds a set of international patents related to CPAPs, including mechanisms for the detection of the breathing state throughout each cycle.
To help the company test its mattresses and CPAP machines, as well as to let visitors to try them out, they built a test bedroom within the corporate offices. It’s simple and elegant, designed to promote rest and relaxation and to minimize any distractions.
We enjoyed our tour of Apex’s offices and are thankful for their insights and hospitality.