April 16, 2018
Health Care & Technology

New Z-Medica chief eyes focused growth

HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
Z-Medica CEO Eric Compton with the company's newly FDA-approved product for controlling internal bleeding, QuikClot Control Plus.

Eric B. Compton has worked for major healthcare companies with billions of dollars in annual sales, such as Johnson & Johnson and Hologic.

The recently named president and CEO of Wallingford-based Z-Medica — maker of wound-clotting products — says the 100-employee medical device maker, owned by private equity firm Linden Capital Partners, has big opportunities ahead.

"This is a hyper-growth opportunity," Compton said of Z-Medica. "This company has a history of growing, and I think our best days are still in front of us."

What's got him excited is the Food and Drug Administration's September approval of Z-Medica's newest product, QuikClot Control Plus, a hemostatic dressing that temporarily controls severe internal bleeding during surgery or other medical situations.

Compton said the approval opens up a new market opportunity for Z-Medica, which is looking to deepen its relationship with hospitals.

"Many doctors were hesitant to reach for our products because we didn't have the FDA designation for internal use," he said.

Compton said he thinks QuikClot Control Plus is a disruptive product because of its simplicity, safety profile and price compared to other bleeding control technology, such as thrombin.

To roll out QuikClot Plus, Z-Medica doubled its U.S.-based healthcare salesforce to 35 people.

"A lot of what we'll focus on going forward is that U.S. hospital channel, for sure," Compton said.

Compton credits his predecessor, Stephen Fanning, who remains on Z-Medica's board, for guiding the company through the two-year FDA process and for the hiring ramp-up that followed.

The company's 100-employee workforce has grown from about 55 workers when Fanning was hired in 2014.

The international market will also be a focus for Compton, as QuikClot Control Plus opens up new opportunities in other countries.

A third growth area is selling Z-Medica's bleeding control kits to more public schools and public venues, Compton said.

First responders used QuikClot on two victims of the February school shooting in Parkland, Fla., according to Z-Medica. The company said its products were also used to treat Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, after he was shot at a baseball practice last June, as well as in the aftermath of the Las Vegas concert shooting last October.

First responders and others have sent letters to Z-Medica to share their story or thank the company for its product over the years, Compton said.

"That's why we feel compelled to do more," he said. "We take it personally."

So far, just two public school districts in Connecticut use QuikClot.

"I'd love to see us expand that out as a kind of microcosm of what we should probably be doing nationwide," he said.

It's a different sort of distribution channel with its own challenges for Z-Medica, which sells to police departments, first responders, hospitals and the military. The latter accounts for about one-third of its annual revenue, which it declined to disclose.

"With what's going on in the world today I think we all feel compelled to figure that channel out," Compton said of schools.

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