Retractable Technologies, Inc. Then & Now

Retractable Technologies, Inc. (RTI) proudly manufactures retractable safety needle devices. VanishPoint® products have been in development since 1989, and like all revolutionary designs, the process to market has been arduous. Grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health helped to bring the early designs into prototypes for clinical trials. Five years into development, on May 4, 1994, RTI was incorporated in Texas to design, develop, manufacture and market medical safety devices for the healthcare industry.

In 1996 RTI’s corporate office and first building consisting of 18,000 square feet of mixed-use manufacturing, warehouse, and office spaces opened its doors. By the end of 1996 RTI had 15 employees and the 3cc VanishPoint® syringe became commercially available in 1997.

Also in 1997, the VanishPoint® blood collection tube holder was awarded the “Top of the Line” award by Risk & Insurance magazine. Being available for the marketplace and making inroads into the marketplace are two completely different challenges. RTI charted a course to simultaneously improve manufacturing processes and expand its product lines while also creating a sales and marketing strategy.

RTI’s initial sales were limited to health departments, emergency medical services centers, federal prisons, homecare facilities, small hospitals, and VA hospitals. In 1998, the San Francisco Chronicle published a series of articles about HIV, hepatitis, and the needlestick problem. On July 1, 1999, California’s law requiring the use of safety medical devices went into effect. Meanwhile, RTI worked continuously to encourage and assist in the passage of safety needle legislation by individual states and at the federal level. When the federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act was signed into law in November 2000, RTI’s founder was present at the signing in the Oval Office.

On February 25, 2001, the CBS news program “60 Minutes” broadcast its lead segment on safety needles and the market obstacles to their widespread use. Investigative reporter Mike Wallace interviewed RTI’s CEO Thomas J. Shaw along with needlestick victims. The merits of RTI’s VanishPoint® safety needle devices were prominently featured, along with details about the company’s struggle to survive in a market dominated by a few large corporations.

On July 10, 2002, RTI produced its 100 millionth 3cc syringe. By then RTI’s product line had expanded to include 1cc, 5cc, and 10cc syringes as well as blood collection tube holders. Innovation and determination have been the cornerstone of RTI and as the new millennial moved forward, RTI continued to develop new products and improve their existing products. In 2005 RTI introduced the VanishPoint® IV catheter product line as RTI’s growth continued.

By the end of 2005 completion of RTI’s second mixeduse building was completed. It consisted of 45,000 square footage. As growth continued, in 2009 this building was expanded by an additional 45,000 square footage with 8,600 devoted to manufacturing, 10,000 to office space and the remainder becoming warehouse.

In 2009 H1N1, what became commonly known as the “swine flu,” exploded onto the world stage. In August of 2009, in response to the pandemic RTI was awarded a contract by DHHS to support the United States’ efforts to vaccinate the population against H1N1.

Over the next several years RTI continued to develop and introduce new product lines. The VanishPoint® blood collection set was introduced in 2011. In 2014 The EasyPoint® needle became commercially available. It offers needle-based retraction that can be used with pre-filled syringes, luer lock, and luer slip syringes.

In June 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic RTI began shipping VanishPoint® safety syringes to the U.S. Government in support of the vaccination effort.

Over the two-year period from 2020-2022 RTI provided in excess of 1.2 billion units to combat COVID-19. In addition to the safety benefits, VanishPoint® 1mL syringes have a low dead space (LDS) that maximizes dose efficiency. In a time when vaccines were in limited quantity, this added benefit often allowed healthcare practitioners to access 20% more vaccine compared to non-LDS syringes.

Bringing to market the EasyPoint® blood collection tube holder with needle in 2021. In June 2022, RTI completed construction on its third mixed use building consisting of 55,000 square footage of warehouse and training facilities. By the end of 2023, the finishing touches of an expansion on the original building was completed. Portion of this building provides a cardio room, weight room, and recreation center. Retractable Technologies has followed the normal business cycle throughout its nearly thirty-year existence with expansion comes contraction.

RTI currently employs 153 people, with twenty percent of those employees crossing the twenty-year threshold at RTI. That type of loyalty speaks volumes to the pride, commitment, and sense of purpose that is imbued in RTI’s mission of creating a safe working environment for the healthcare industry. Throughout its history, RTI continues to make the necessary inroads to establish itself as the market leader in safety syringe technology.

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