Microwave-harnessing healthtech firm heats up global expansion with acquisition of US distributor

Healthtech firm Emblation, which uses microwave technology to improve treatments in oncology, dermatology, and podiatry, has acquired a US distributor in a seven-figure deal that it says offers it “massive” scale and potential impact.

The Alloa-based company has snapped up Saorsa Inc, which is headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and led by its founders Chris McNamara and Pete Turnbull. The firm being acquired will now become Emblation Inc to spearhead growth in the US, where it is already the sole distributor of the Scottish firm’s Swift Microwave Therapy technology. Saorsa’s co-founder duo first met Emblation co-founder and chief executive Gary Beale to spearhead the launch of the Swift machine – which deploys microwave technology for use in podiatry and dermatology – in Canada.

The transaction comes after Emblation, which has been undertaking a two-year-long major expansion, earlier this year established Emblation GmbH in Germany as part of European expansion, and it brings a third global business under its corporate umbrella. Welcoming the latest deal, Mr Beale said: “This is a huge step towards us achieving both our commercial and clinical goals over the next four years. The US is the largest global healthcare market and, from an Emblation perspective, represents a major area for growth. The scale and potential impact of this one acquisition is massive for us. It is an exciting time for everyone in the firm, and I’m delighted we will now be integrating such an enthusiastic and energetic team to the Emblation global family.

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“When we began discussing our plans for the US market [with Mr McNamara and Mr Turnbull], they were determined to take advantage of the opportunity and as a result, they founded Saorsa alongside two investors and former colleagues in 2018.”

From left: Emblation co-founders Eamon McErlean and Gary Beale. Picture: Lewis J Houghton.From left: Emblation co-founders Eamon McErlean and Gary Beale. Picture: Lewis J Houghton.
From left: Emblation co-founders Eamon McErlean and Gary Beale. Picture: Lewis J Houghton.

Emblation added that since then, Saorsa has been the exclusive supplier of Swift in the US, rolling out more than 400 devices, with more than 1,000 practitioners trained in its use, and in excess of 50,000 treatments carried out on skin lesions. Saorsa is now, as part of Emblation, expected to deliver further growth and is already recruiting with ambitions to triple the number of Swift devices in use across the US in the next three years.

Mr McNamara said: “We are excited and energised to be officially joining the Emblation group. This acquisition was an important step for both companies to achieve our long-term ambition to establish Swift as the market leader in microwave-based applications for the treatment of skin lesions. We understand the challenges facing US private practice and are committed to making an impact through innovation. We’ll be able to immediately benefit from shared capabilities and will sharpen our focus on accelerated growth for the US business.”

Emblation was founded by Mr Beale and Eamon McErlean, who met during post-graduate studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The pair went on to launch Swift in 2016 as a “radical” new treatment in the podiatry sector. The firm aims to improve on traditional treatments, using the “unique” advantages of microwaves such as being accurate, with repeatable procedures, and better clinical outcomes. It adds that its technology is transforming the treatment of HPV infections globally, and is widely used in dermatology, podiatry and oncology, with a number of “disruptive” applications under development in cardiology and gynaecology.

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