Pyxis Corporation to acquire HelpMate Robotics, Inc., a developer of advanced robotics systems for health care

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "Pyxis Corporation to acquire HelpMate Robotics, Inc., a developer of advanced robotics systems for health care", Industrial Robot, Vol. 27 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Pyxis Corporation to acquire HelpMate Robotics, Inc., a developer of advanced robotics systems for health care

Pyxis Corporation to acquire HelpMate Robotics, Inc., a developer of advanced robotics systems for health care

Transaction expands Pyxis' offering of productivity-enhancing technology

Keyword: Robotics

Pyxis Corporation, a subsidiary of Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE: CAH - news), has announced it has agreed to acquire the assets and certain liabilities of HelpMate Robotics, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: HELP - news) of Danbury, Connecticut, in a cash transaction valued at approximately $13 million. Other financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

HelpMate is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of advanced mobile robotics systems used primarily in hospitals, laboratories and other medical settings. The company employs about 20 people and reported sales of approximately $4.5 million for the 12 months ended June 30, 1999.

The transaction is subject to the approval of HelpMate's shareholders and other customary conditions. Pyxis expects to complete the acquisition in its second fiscal quarter, which ends December 31, 1999.

HelpMate manufactures and markets a mobile robotic system - the HelpMate™ - which is distinguished by its ability to navigate autonomously through hospitals and other medical facilities, including calling and using elevators, without fixed tracks or guide wires. The HelpMate is one of the only trackless robots in production worldwide. It is being used today to deliver pharmaceuticals and supplies throughout health-care institutions.

Pyxis expects to integrate the HelpMate system and patented technology with its leading line of automated pharmaceutical and medical-supply dispensing systems. These advanced systems help streamline and manage inventory in hospitals, clinics and other medical sites. Pyxis systems also capture information that is used to reduce costs and improve quality in patient care. More information about Pyxis can be found at http://www.

HelpMate Robotics was founded in 1984. During its early years, the company's focus was contract engineering and research and development for third parties, including NASA. In recent years, the company has focused on the development of commercial applications for autonomous robotic products.

Standing 4 feet 6 inches tall and weighing approximately 600 lbs, the HelpMate™ robotic courier is the company's flagship product. The HelpMate robot employs state-of-the-art sensor technology, wireless radio and proprietary software to guide the battery-powered couriers, which can navigate from point to point, avoid stationary and moving objects (including people), summon elevators and travel between floors, announce their arrival at destinations, signal closed doors to open and maintain communications with a centrally located computer. They can be dispatched by users from an ATM-like screen and keyboard located on the robot's back control panel. HelpMates are in use today individually and in small fleets at hospitals in 30 states and several foreign countries.

"We are delighted to be able to add the capabilities of HelpMate to Pyxis and Cardinal", said Stephen S. Thomas, president, Pyxis Corporation. "The technologies that HelpMate has researched and proven, coupled with the sales and service strengths of Pyxis, will enable our customers to find new ways of reducing costs in the medication management process. The HelpMate system is a very economical means of transporting pharmaceuticals, as well as lab specimens, supplies, medical records and other essential items throughout hospitals and other medical facilities, 24 hours a day."

HelpMate's founder and chairman, Joseph Engelberger, is known wordwide as the father of robotics. In the 1960s, he founded Unimation where he developed the first industrial commercialized robot for use in automobile production. Engelberger will remain as a consultant to the company following its acquisition by Pyxis.

"Joining Cardinal Health's family of companies gives HelpMate a tremendous opportunity to broaden our influence in health care and bring greater efficiency to hospitals and other health-care providers at a time when many departments are experiencing labor shortages", Engelberger said.

San Diego-based Pyxis Corporation was established in 1987 with a simple objective: to revolutionize the way medication and supplies are distributed within health-care facilities. Pyxis automated dispensing technology allows health-care providers to streamline the medication and medical-supply distribution process, cut costs, save time and enables pharmacists and nurses to direct more energy to patient care. The company serves more than 3,300 customers worldwide with more than 60,000 units installed.

Cardinal Health Inc., a Fortune 100 corporation based in Dublin, Ohio, is a leading provider of services supporting health care. Cardinal provides a broad array of complementary products and services to health-care providers and manufacturers to help them improve the efficiency and quality of health care. In addition to automated dispensing systems through Pyxis Corporation, these services include pharmaceutical distribution (Cardinal Distribution and National Specialty Services, Inc.), health-care product manufacturing, distribution and consulting services (Allegiance Corporation), drug delivery systems development (R.P. Scherer Corporation), pharmaceutical packaging and repackaging (PCI Services, Inc. and National PharmPak Services, Inc.), hospital pharmacy management (Owen Healthcare, Inc.), retail pharmacy franchising (Medicine Shoppe International, Inc.) and health-care information systems development (Cardinal information Companies). The common shares of Cardinal Health, Inc. are a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Except for historical information, all other information in this news release consists of forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, anticipated or implied. The most significant of these uncertainties are described in Cardinal's Form 10-K, Form 8-K and Form 10-Q reports and exhibits to those reports, and include (but are not limited to) the costs and difficulties related to the integration of acquired businesses, the loss of one or more key customer or supplier relationships, changes in the distribution outsourcing pattern for pharmaceutical products and/or services, and the costs and other effects of governmental regulation and legal and administrative proceedings. Cardinal undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Source: Cardinal Health, Inc.

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