Ex-Liberal MP Frank Baylis scores windfall as Boston Scientific buys his heart device business for US$1.75-billion

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Frank Bellis is the son of a Barbadian immigrant who won a landmark discrimination case in Quebec in the 1960s. He has also made films, and served as a Member of Parliament.

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Now, he is one of the richest men in Canada, because the company he helped build for more than 30 years, Bayliss Medical Company Inc., sold its heart medical devices business to Boston Scientific Corp for US$1.75 billion. has agreed to.

Boston Scientific is raising a rapidly growing, profitable business, which is expected to generate revenue of US$200 million and 850 employees in 2022.

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Mr. Bayliss, the company’s executive chairman, and Chris Shah, its president, are co-owners of the debt-free venture, which has never raised outside equity. This is the third time his Montreal-based business has sold a division to a major US company, making him Canada’s most successful medical device entrepreneur.

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But this couple, aged 58 and 60 respectively, is not finished yet. They plan to invest the proceeds to build Bayliss Medical Technologies, another medical devices business focused on radiology and neurosurgery.

“I am excited to see the cardiology business that we have worked so hard to grow in Canada and grow through this agreement with Boston Scientific to improve the lives of even more patients around the world. and has evolved,” Mr Bellis said. a statement. He said he is looking forward to working in the new company.

Bayliss Medical was founded by Mr. Bayliss’s mother, Gloria Bayliss, in 1986 as an importer and distributor of medical equipment. It was a second career for Ms Bayliss, who had moved from Barbados to Montreal in the early 1950s and worked as a nurse.

She came into limelight in 1964 after being turned down for a nursing job at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, which was then owned by Hilton of Canada Limited. After taking the position, he found that the job was incomplete, and complained under a new Quebec law. Which made racial discrimination illegal by employers. He won his case, but the hotel appealed for years. She later found work as a nurse – including Dr. Henry Morgenteller – and relocated to Toronto before founding his company.

His sons Frank and Mr Shah joined the business in 1989. The two men met during a cooperative placement during their first year in electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo. Both were sons of immigrant nurses – Mr Shah’s father of Indian origin worked in the profession – and both had self-employment ambitions. “We looked for opportunities, businesses we could start, technologies we could develop,” Mr Shah said.

He ended up working for Bellis. For a decade, he also ran a consulting company that helped innovative businesses apply for tax credits.

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By 2001, they were ready to inspire Bellis to manufacture and sell their own devices. He established research and development facilities in Mississauga, collaborated with local hospitals and manufactured specialized equipment that used radiofrequency technology to help identify and reduce spinal pain.

He sold that division to his US distributor, Kimberly-Clark Corp., in 2009 for between US$30 million and US$50 million. In 2016 he sold another device program for the treatment of cancer in the spine to Medtronic plc. cost. (Ms. Bellis retired in 2004 and died in 2017.)

In the meantime, he focused on making products for use in cardiovascular procedures. These include a five millimeter thick, one meter long plastic pipeline used to deliver treatment to the heart. It is inserted into the groin and directed through the body to carefully puncture the muscle part using radiofrequency energy.

As the heart business grew, Mr. Bellis followed his heart in other directions. He co-wrote the screenplays and produced two films in which he also starred. The longtime Liberal fundraiser left his company to run for the party in the 2015 federal election. He won the Pierrefonds-Dollard ride in Quebec.

He returned to business in 2019, but his political ties came in a negative light when a Bayliss-owned company won a subcontract to manufacture ventilators during the pandemic. Mr Bellis testified to lawmakers last December that he did not use his political ties to secure any contracts.

Mr Shah said the pair decided to sell the cardiovascular business, whose sales are concentrated in the US and Japan, after seeking a partner to help it expand to the rest of the world. He was not interested in taking on an equity investor after being bootstrapped for so long. “We were quite happy with how things were going.”

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Mr Shah described his foray into radiology and neurosurgery as “the next step in evolving into the next version of himself”.

“We enjoy medical technology, we get a lot of personal energy and pride from it,” he said.

Due to their considerable resources and managerial ability, as well as their facilities, engineering expertise and 120 post-deal retention, the business will have a running start, he added.

“Hopefully we can grow even faster than our cardiovascular business,” Mr. Shah said.

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