(Article in Dutch newspaper “Financieele Dagblad” on 15th of April 2014).
Humeca, a company that develops devices that facilitates skin grafts, has been acquired by Holland Venture, a private equity firm and Arnoud van Velzen, the new director.
The company, located in Enschede, distributes skin graft devices to burn centers and clinics in 66 countries and according to the new stakeholders, plenty of countries are to follow. Their ambition is to become the largest global player in this niche market. Although, the amount of the buy-out is undisclosed, the new management emphasizes that the investment will realize international growth and thus, turnover is expected to grow from € 3 million to € 7 million in the next four years.
Humeca’s products are mainly intended for the healing of full-thickness burns. To successfully heal such type of wounds, two devices are needed. The first one, has the form of a razor and removes the burned skin. Then, some healthy skin -that will serve as donor skin- is taken from (for example) the femur. Next, the second device stretches out the donor skin. As a result, a reduced amount of healthy skin is required. In some severe cases, this can be a lifesaver as some patients are so heavily burned that there is hardly any healthy skin left. It is important to point out that it is impossible to use skin from other people.
Currently, many hospitals use devices that stretch the donor skin by a factor of three. Humeca developed the MEEK-method which makes it possible to enlarge the healthy skin with a factor of nine. The device, named after the inventor of this method, the American physician Cicero Parker Meek, is designed in collaboration with a group of experts from the burn center in Beverwijk,.
According to director Arnoud van Velzen, doctors around the world are very excited about the MEEK-method. Especially in China, where experts are already familiarized with this method. “I recently had an interview with Professor Ge, a leading physician of 84 years old from Shanghai”, says Arnoud van Velzen. “He was a bit sceptic about the intentions of the new owners. He sat in front of me, looked at me intensely and said: “You have a large responsibility. If your business stops, patients will die. That comment made a deep impression on me”.
Van Velzen is confident about the new company: “Humeca is the result of the expertise of two founders. They made an excellent product. They are the reason we distribute devices to burn centers and clinics in 66 countries worldwide. Still, there is much more room for improvement, in particular in the commercial field. We need to (pro)actively contact suppliers and hospitals, rather than waiting on our doorstep for them”.
Poor man’s disease
Together with Holland Venture, the entrepreneur wants to expand in major markets ranging from the US and Russia to Iraq and Afghanistan. “In these particular countries, there is a high demand for our products. Not because of the bombs or garnets, but mostly due to unsafe cooking environments. To become actively involved in these countries, we need distributors with local expertise. Therefore, our priority goes out to finding the right partners abroad”.
Finally, van Velzen has high expectations in the scientific research regarding the MEEK-method. “If we can determine that our method is equally effective for bedsores and ulcers, a much broader market can be penetrated. Consequently, this will lead to global sales opportunities in all hospitals”.
Read the full article as published in “het Financieele Dagblad” here.