SPARKS, Nev. — Tim Duvall had a clear goal in mind when he formed his company, Neo Medical.
“The real job of our company is to help take these little infants who were born too soon and send them home with their moms and dads at the end of it all,” said Duvall, president of the firm.
Creating specialized products designed specifically for neonatal and small pediatric patients, Neo Medical has been achieving that goal since it launched in Fremont, California, in 2007.
And for the past eight years, the innovative medical device manufacturer has been operating — and growing — in Northern Nevada out of 9,500-square-foot facility planted in Sparks on Greg Street.
There, the company develops and manufactures medical devices used by practitioners in the process of gaining access to the vascular system of neonatal patients to deliver nutrition, blood, antibiotics and drug therapies.
“We’re making sure the premature infants are getting some of the innovations that are going on in the adult world, making sure it’s taking place down here at this small population base of patients,” Duvall said.
Fact is, though, that “small population” still amounts to an estimated 15 million babies that are born preterm each year, with more than half a million of them born in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization.
Duvall said developing and manufacturing medical devices for premature infants is a niche market that’s “underserved” due to the small patient volume — when compared to children and adults — and the risk factor of the market.
“There are only five companies like us in the world that are in our sector,” Duvall said.
As a result, Neo Medical’s revenue has steadily grown year over year. That includes the current year, 2020, which has seen many business sectors — from hospitals to restaurants — hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The company has two main business lines: a primary line of devices for neonatal and small pediatric patients, and a secondary line of needle products it sells to other manufacturing firms.
Since the pandemic hit, the company’s needle technology line has been supporting the worldwide COVID-19 response — it’s an effort Duvall said has not been easy for his 10-employee team.
“We’ve been scrambling to make sure we take care of the increased needs around the world,” Duvall said. “We were allocating between six different companies to keep them going. They were some tense times; it put a lot of pressure on us. But, our team responded well.”
Meanwhile, the demand for Neo Medical’s neonatal and pediatric lines has not slowed. Since launching its new pediatric products two years ago, the company has seen a 35% growth in sales, Duvall said.
Overall, the company has seen its revenue grow 15% year-over-year since relocating to Sparks in late 2012.
Duvall noted that Neo Medical has been able to maintain steady growth because of the business benefits that Northern Nevada offers.
Specifically, he said operating in Sparks has allowed the company to reduce its fixed costs by as much as 40%, and also gives staff the ability to focus on boosting marketing, sales and product development efforts.
Moreover, being based in Sparks enables the company to maintain current pricing structures and continue to manufacture its products in the U.S. at margins similar to overseas competitors.
“It was a fantastic move for the company,” Duvall said. “We were saving even though we were actually paying Nevada employees more than we had paid in California. We had so much cost savings we fully passed it on to the employees. And then we also took a lot of it invested in our product development for children’s products.”
Currently, Neo Medical is in the process of conducting clinical trials for a new patent-pending product: a reduced trauma micro-preemie catheter system intended for infants born at roughly 2 pounds. The company will launch the device in Q1 of 2021, Duvall said.
“We are expecting a 50% increase in the pediatric market sector next year,” Duvall said. “So, we’re really excited about all of the prospects of the company and optimistic about the growth potential.”