Freescale, Cactus partner in medical

April 05, 2011 // By Rick Merritt
Freescale, Cactus partner in medical
Freescale Semiconductor struck a deal to partner with Cactus Semiconductor, a small privately held ASIC designer focused on medical electronics. Cactus (Tempe, Arizona) will work exclusively with Freescale in the market for blood glucose meters.

Cactus was founded in 2002 by two engineers with a background at both Motorola and Medtronic, working on custom chips for implantable devices and blood glucose meters. It includes about seven IC designers who have done about a dozen ASICs for blood glucose meters.

Part of Cactus' expertise is in design of analog-front ends. Its portfolio includes a 10-bit 1 MSample/s DAC, gain amplifiers, op amps and voltage regulators. Analog makes up as much as 40 percent of the medical electronics market, according to Freescale.

"Freescale already does custom ASICs including some in medical but this is an opportunity to expand that," said Steven Dean, medical segment manager for Freescale.

The two companies will seek opportunities for joint business, initially in implantable devices and glucose meters. Freescale expects to make in its fabs most of the custom products on which the companies collaborate.

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