By Holly Riddle
The past year has been a big one for Actuated Medical. The Bellefonte-based medical technologies company hosted an open house for its new facility in May. It recently received FDA clearance on a new endoscopy device, the GripTract-GI endoscopic tissue manipulator. It’s diversifying and expanding its reach — and, as of last week, Actuated Medical announced it has acquired State College-based Mitotyping Technologies LLC, representing the former’s first foray into the world of forensics.
Mitotyping Technologies may have a small team (two full-time individuals currently), but the 24-year-old company has made a huge impact with its mitochondrial DNA analysis services.
According to Actuated Medical founder Maureen Mulvihill, “They’ve done DNA analysis that has helped law enforcement put criminals in jail. They’ve helped identify people in grave sites. They’ve helped get people wrongfully convicted out of prison.” She also mentioned that Mitotyping Technologies’ time-proven methods have made them a “gold standard” in its industry.
We also wanted to make sure that we retain the jobs in central Pennsylvania, but we also want to make sure we keep that technology and that expertise here in central Pennsylvania.
The company’s website claims that its “proprietary extraction techniques have a proven success rate >95% with hair samples as small as 2 mm, degraded bone and teeth evidence” and clients include international law enforcement agencies and forensics teams. “Typical evidence samples” that Mitotyping Technologies works with range from hair discarded at crime scenes to skeletal remains in missing persons cases. The team has also worked to identify skeletal remains in cases of historical intrigue, such as when they helped unravel the mystery of a famed Texas outlaw who was rumored to have cheated death.
So why was Mitotyping Technologies a good fit to join the Actuated Medical family? The connection was made all thanks to Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
When Mitotyping Technologies’ parent company was purchased by another, Mitotyping Technologies spun off on its own, but preferred to find a new home rather than work as an independent entity. The team contacted Ben Franklin, who then contacted Mulvihill.
“We're a medical device company and they're a forensic DNA company… so there's synergy in the way that we operate versus the way they operate,” explained Mulvihill. “It made sense for Actuated [Medical] to diversify and it made great sense to keep [Mitotyping Technologies] continuing the great work that they're doing, helping law enforcement. We also wanted to make sure that we retain the jobs in central Pennsylvania, but we also want to make sure we keep that technology and that expertise here in central Pennsylvania.”
Keeping these jobs, talent and technology in Pennsylvania, Mulvihill said, should help to attract and keep more talent in the area, particularly those with ties to Penn State’s forensics program.
Of the acquisition, Stephen Brawley, CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA, said, “We congratulate the teams at Actuated Medical and Mitotyping for joining forces and leveraging their respective strengths. This strategic collaboration not only helps create more jobs but also exemplifies the spirit of innovation that fuels growth in Centre County. Together, they are set to create new opportunities, better serve customers and make a lasting impact on our community.”
This strategic collaboration not only helps create more jobs but also exemplifies the spirit of innovation that fuels growth in Centre County.
The next steps are relocating Mitotyping Technologies to Bellefonte in the Penn Eagle Industrial Park, where a new, state-of-the-art facility is currently being built to help the company increase its impact. Mulvihill noted that the goal is to expand the team’s numbers from two to five by 2024, and to eight staff members by 2026.
Mulvihill also hinted that this acquisition is just the start of Actuated Medical’s potential growth in the future. She said, “I don't know about acquisitions per se, but we’re now expanding into contract services for other companies. We're helping them with their devices. We just received a very large contract from the National Institutes of Health. We're now a contract research organization for the National Institutes of Health where we will be helping other neural device companies reach patients sooner.”
“There’s a lot of good happening,” she summed up. “We’re expanding the growth of Actuated [Medical] and moving Up and Onward.”