BD acquires Velano Vascular — and breakthrough technology that could lead to ‘one-stick hospital stays’

Velano, named one of globe’s most innovative companies, has pioneered way to do painless blood draws through IV

Whether it’s for starting an IV or taking a frequent blood draw, the average hospital patient during the average hospital stay can be pricked 10-20 times. None is any fun.

Patients can feel as if they are being treated like a pin cushion, BD’s Rick Byrd said.

“Frankly, it can be one of the most traumatic parts of a hospital experience,” he said. “I would be surprised if you or a loved one hasn’t shared a horror story about either a difficult catheter stick or a difficult blood stick.”

Rick Byrd. (BD)

That’s why Byrd, president of Medication Delivery Solutions for BD, said he was thrilled to announce Tuesday morning the company’s acquisition of Velano Vascular, a San Francisco-based company whose breakthrough technology is enabling health care providers to take high-quality blood draws through the existing peripheral intravenous catheter lines — thus eliminating the traditional blood draw needle stick.

Velano’s FDA-cleared PIVO device is the key to a “one-stick hospital stay” — one that BD officials feel can transform the patient experience.

“As a global leader in both blood collection and vascular access, BD has been on the forefront of innovations that both reduce needle sticks and improve the patient experience,” he said. “The addition of Velano Vascular, which is an innovative, needle-free blood-draw technology, will reduce the pain and discomfort of multiple needle sticks and really creates a new standard of care.”

The terms of the acquisition were not announced. But Franklin Lakes-based BD, already known as a global innovator, certainly is acquiring a highly regarded company.

In 2019, Velano Vascular was named one of the Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World.  In 2020, Deloitte called it the fastest-growing medical device company. Earlier this year, Real Leaders Magazine named Velano Vascular to its list of 100 leading Impact Companies.

The reason is simple: Through its technology, a high-quality blood sample can now be drawn through the catheter.

“It seems like a no-brainer, but the idea of being able to get the high-quality blood sample through an IV catheter has been the challenging piece,” Byrd said.

The solution benefits more than just patients, Byrd said.

“For health care providers, this is a very anxiety-ridden process,” he said. “Giving them a tool that they can provide what is called compassionate care is very exciting for them, as well.”

Anna Kiger, the chief nursing officer for Sutter Health, a Northern California-based health system that first implemented the needle-free technology in 2016, said she has seen a difference.

“What can be an unpleasant or anxiety-inducing procedure, with multiple pokes and prods throughout the day and night, is now a more compassionate one for those in our care,” she said.

A closer look at the PIVO device. (BD)

Byrd said the acquisition of Velano, the company’s fifth in 2021, is consistent with BD’s growth strategy to enter new categories that address unmet needs and deliver higher impact to patients and health systems.

“We’re always on the lookout for technologies that strengthen our expanding pipeline of innovation solutions and growth opportunities,” he said.

The PIVO device already is being used in a number of major health systems — mostly in the Western U.S. — Byrd said.

Byrd said BD is eager to expand its use in New Jersey — Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck uses the technology — but Byrd said the product has global reach. After all, there are nearly 1 billion blood draws around the globe each year.

“We’re really excited to create a new standard of care for blood draw and spread this technology,” Byrd said. “With our global footprint, we intend to register this product and expand it outside the U.S. as well.”

How quickly this can be done remains to be seen.

“This is a transformative shift in health care and how this procedure has always been done,” Byrd said. “While our teams are excited to get out there and share it with hospitals and health systems across the U.S., we also know that change can take time.

“We’ll hit the ground running, but expect this will be a multiyear transformation process.”

It’s been a multiyear process for Velano, which was founded in 2011.

“Since inception, we have long championed a more compassionate vision for quality vascular care for every patient in every hospital anywhere in the world,” co-founder Eric Stone said. “By joining forces with BD, we can collectively accelerate the impact of our work to more rapidly make this shared vision of a ‘one-stick hospital stay’ a reality.”

Byrd said BD is eager to help in that mission.

“Our business is committed to transforming vascular care — driving innovation and differentiation in IV blood draws to better serve patients and health care providers,” he said.

“We’re always on the lookout for technologies that strengthen our expanding pipeline of innovation solutions and growth opportunities. Velano is a great example of that.”