Medela today announced the signing of an agreement to acquire the enteral feeding assets of Acacia, Inc., a Brea, Calif.-based company that designs and produces a line of high-quality neonatal feeding devices. The acquisition, which is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, further expands Medela's commitment and leadership in feeding solutions for neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
"Breastmilk is the best nutrition for babies, yet many babies born in the NICU are not able to nurse directly and many do not receive the benefits of human milk. We plan to improve this situation," said Carolin Archibald, President of Medela. "For more than 50 years, Medela's focus has been to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of breastmilk. This acquisition helps us provide those babies most at-risk, greater access to the life-giving medicine of human milk through enteral feeding devices."
Every year, more than 500,000 babies are born premature and require NICU support. Research has demonstrated that for most babies – particularly premature babies – human milk is easier to digest than formula and helps vulnerable stomachs to mature. Because their immune systems are immature, premature babies also face a greater risk of infections, such as necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal disease associated with a high mortality rate in the NICU. Human milk contains hormones, antibodies and other protective factors that help babies fight infection and become stronger. Since 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics has had a policy statement calling for hospitals and physicians to recommend human milk for premature and other high risk infants. For those infants unable to directly breastfeed, expressed mother's own milk or pasteurized donor human milk should be provided.
"Both Acacia and Medela have been committed to bringing innovative products and solutions to the NICU to improve the health of NICU infants," said Dan Hyun, President and CEO of Acacia, Inc. "We share a common goal with the NICU staff and families: to promote environments that support the health and growth of infants. We recognize that we can accomplish this better together – through the combined strength of our research-based products, our resources and our vision."
As part of the acquisition, Hyun will join the Medela leadership team as Vice President of Enteral Feeding Operations. With this acquisition, Medela will have more than 650 employees across the United States.
All enteral feeding products currently offered by Acacia will continue to be available to customers via standard channels, but now under the auspices of Medela. Acacia's Brea offices will remain in operation and will serve as the satellite office of Medela's new enteral feeding operations. The terms of the deal are not being disclosed. For more information, visit www.medela.com.