Five years ago, Dr. Jerome Canady, helped contribute to a revival in McKeesport when his company Canady Technology, LLC brought nearly 50 jobs to the area, with the potential to double that number in two years time. Three years later, Canady was forced to shut down operations in McKeesport as a result of a series of costly lawsuits, choking his business’ resources.
“We shut down the operation in December 2008,” Dr. Canady said. “There was no money to spend on inventory or running the company because it was going to litigation. It cost us $4 million.”
Now Dr. Canady sits on the tail end of a litigation victory that dragged his company in and out of court for patent infringement. On Dec. 9, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH and ERBE in favor of Canady Tech.
“We’ve been waiting for this decision for almost four or five months. We’re going back on the market stronger. Whether we continue working in McKeesport or not, I have no idea,” Dr. Canady said. “We’re going to start a new company, but I’m undecided whether it’s going to be in McKeesport or not.”
Dr. Canady, who previously worked as a surgeon at Mon Valley hospital, became well known for his invention and use of a tool that eliminates cancer by using plasma energy. His company, Canady Tech, which manufactures electrosurgical products, was the first African-American owned biomedical device company in United States.
“We were 30 to 40 percent less than their products on the market,” said Dr. Canady, referring to his opponents in the lawsuits. “The other part is, in our first six months we did close to a million dollars in sales. All these major centers switched over to us because of the price and the quality was just as good.”
Now living in Florida with plans to move to Washington D.C., Dr. Canady must decide how to move forward with his company. Though he recognizes the positive impact Canady Tech, headquartered in Hampton, Va., could have on McKeesport and Pittsburgh, he is unsure if he will restart manufacturing operations in McKeesport.
“Now we’re five years out so we’re looking at what could’ve been a minimum of 10 to 20 million dollars whether from salary, taxes or subcontracting work for the local people,” Dr. Canady said. “Twenty-five percent of that money could’ve gone back into the community. All of that got squashed. We looked at close to 100 employees by year three just at the manufacturing company there. These were good paying jobs.”
However, despite support from local residents in McKeesport, Dr. Canady received little outreach from local government in the form of small business grants. Whether he receives this kind of assistance this time around will affect his decision to return his operations to McKeesport’s RIDC industrial park.
“There’s money set up for start up companies. We’ve never gotten any grants. We got $300,000 alone from McKeesport investors in the company. It was home grown,” Dr. Canady said. “I’m going to look at how the city is going to support us this time.”
Dr. Canady completed an advanced multi-visceral and intestinal transplantation fellowship in adult and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and Children Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC. He is certified by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the American Board of Surgery.