Sterling Manufacturing deal boosts life sciences business for Eptam
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Sterling Manufacturing deal boosts life sciences business for Eptam

Apr 05, 2024

Eptam Precision Solutions is boosting its presence in life sciences by acquiring injection molder Sterling Manufacturing Co. and its Albright Silicone subsidiary.

Lancaster, Mass.-based Sterling makes components for the molecular diagnostics, biopharmaceutical, medical device, consumer electronics and aerospace/defense markets. Albright, in Leominster, Mass., brings something new to Eptam's table: silicone injection tooling, fabrication and molding.

Eptam said it expects to benefit from Sterling's proximity to leading OEMs in biopharmaceuticals and molecular diagnostics in New England.

Sterling noted the companies are a good combination.

"Partnering with Eptam is a great opportunity in the evolution of Sterling's capabilities," Sterling CEO John Gravelle said in a news release. "We are confident this acquisition will expand Eptam's vast technical capabilities in … the life sciences and medical markets. We could not have found a better strategic fit."

Sterling has been in business since 1968. It mainly serves the health care, defense and consumer product industries. In addition to molding, it offers rapid prototyping and tool development and validation. Sterling purchased Albright in 2019.

Founded in 1981, Eptam manufactures implants; single-use, diagnostic and biopharmaceutical products; and medical and surgical device components. The Northfield, N.H., company employs more than 500 at facilities there and in Lakeville, Minn.; Michigan; Connecticut; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Phillipsburg, N.J.

Eptam, which has been part of Seattle-based investment firm Frazier Healthcare Partners' portfolio since late 2019, also does polymer and metal machining, and plans to add metal injection molding capability this year.

The company has made several plastics-related acquisitions since 2019. In January 2019, it bought substantially all the assets of Relius Medical LLC in Colorado Springs. After that deal, the company rebranded the combined companies as Eptam Precision.

A few months later, it acquired Micro Molding Inc. and its subsidiary MedConnection LLC to boost its capabilities for injection molding, catheter tipping and assembly in the medical device market.

In May 2021, it bought medical component maker Mendell Machine and Manufacturing Inc. for undisclosed terms. Mendell manufactures custom implantable plastic and metal medical devices, specializing in precision computer numerically controlled (CNC) micromachining. The company serves the endovascular, structural heart and cardiovascular markets, providing microsurgical components, microcutters and microhousings.

The name Eptam comes from the firm's original name, EP Tool & Machine Ltd. It was founded in 1982. Originally family-owned, it took on a private equity investor in 2014 when the management team joined with Boston-based private equity firm New Heritage Capital LLC to recapitalize the firm.

Florence, Mass.-based Molding Business Services Inc., dba MBS Advisors, represented Sterling in the Eptam deal.

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