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Gish Biomedical Buys Vector Laser Firm

Gish Biomedical Inc. of Santa Ana said Tuesday that it bought a small Fountain Valley manufacturer of portable ophthalmic lasers, a step designed to give Gish an entree into the growing surgical laser market.

Terms of the purchase of privately held Vector Technology International were not released.

Gish President Jack Brown called the purchase “a huge opportunity” for his company to expand its horizons beyond the disposable devices it manufactures for open-heart surgery and intravenous feeding.

“We really wanted this company,” Brown said. “We want to diversify our company.” Brown said Gish is exploring additional acquisitions. “This company has to expand its horizons” Brown said of the 9-year-old company. “It’s getting tougher to find new disposable products to make.”

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Brown said that although the Vector lasers are currently designed to handle such eye disorders as cataracts and glaucoma, he envisions using the portable laser for other surgeries. “It doesn’t take a genius to see the tie-in with heart surgeries,” Brown said, alluding to Gish’s established product line.

Vector’s lasers are awaiting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for sale in the United States, but the company has been selling the devices internationally and is profitable, according to Brown. He added that FDA-sanctioned tests on the laser are scheduled for completion this year and that FDA approval of the device is expected within the next 12 months.

Vector’s three employees have joined the Gish operation in Santa Ana.

Fluor Corp. has been awarded a contract by Conoco to do preliminary design work and cost estimates for a mooring system to be used for an oil-drilling platform in the Gulf Coast. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

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Rick Maslin, a spokesman for the Irvine construction company, said the design work for the mooring system--the apparatus that would keep the drilling platform anchored to the ocean floor--will be done by the Houston engineering center of Fluor Engineers Inc.

Conoco plans to place the platform in 1,800 feet of water--nearly double the depth of existing production platforms--approximately 170 miles southwest of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico.


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