Healthcare device maker giant Covidien has reportedly acquired sports and medical wearables company Zephyr Technology Group. An official purchase price on the deal has not been released. The news first broke on Mobile Health News.
Covidien is a $32 billion medical device behemoth, with a vast portfolio of patents and devices around established medical devices. This move marks the company’s first move into a wearables space that is less stringently regulated by the FDA.
Zephyr is perhaps not as well known to the mass market consumer as is Fitbit, Jawbone, or Basis. The group focuses on solutions for mHealth, defense, first responder, training, and research markets. The Annapolis, Maryland-based company works principally with clients who operate in high stress scenarios such as NASA, fire departments, The National Guard, and the US Department of Defense. In 2010, the FDA approved Zephyr’s BioHarness for remote patient monitoring.
Covidien’s motives in the acquisition are still unclear, though speculation can abound about their interest to move into the remote patient monitoring space, or perhaps even leverage Zephyr’s media successes and high-profile clients to move into a more consumer focused market. Doctors’ roles in wearables will evolve to include remote monitoring, more robust profiles, and learned interpretation of data, and this move could perhaps signal such a change.