Micell Technologies just may be about to enter the medical device market of the world’s most populous country.

The Durham-based company, which won approval for its drug-eluting stent technology in Europe earlier this year, has signed a deal with Hefei Life Science Technology Park Investment and Development Co., a major life science firm in China. The partner will seek to win approval of the Micell technology in that country then market and sell the stents.

Hefei will fund and manage the clinical testing programs required for approval, Micell added.

The agreement also covers Hong Kong and Macau.

The deal also includes Sinopharm, which Micell noted is “the first Chinese pharmaceutical company included in the Fortune Global 500 list.” Sinopharm will provide distribution and logistical support. Another firm, SinoMedCare, is to provide marketing and sales support.

Financial terms were not disclosed. However, Micell said the agreement does include “annual purchase commitments,” pending government approval.

Micell’s MiStent Sirolimus Eluting Absorbable Polymer Coronary Stent System has yet to win approval in the United States, however.

“This agreement creates a strong opportunity for MiStent SES to enter the Chinese market and build upon our recent CE Mark approval in Europe,” said Arthur Benvenuto, Micell’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Sinopharm and SinoMedCare bring strengths to this partnership with Hefei Life Science that we expect will make this important medical innovation in the coronary stent market readily accessible to patients in Greater China.”

Micell has developed a surface modification technology for use in drug-eluting stents that the company has said provides “unique capabilities for modifying and coating bio-medical devices with advanced polymers and drugs.” Micell’s coatings could overcome some problems related to stents such as thrombosis, or clotting.

The focus on stents and medical devices is the third for the heavily patented technology that is at the core of Micell’s history. Joseph DeSimone, a chemistry and chemical engineering professor at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina, founded Micell, which dates back to the 1990s. He launched the firm with a CO2 process seen as an alternative to dry cleaning. The result was the “Hangers” chain that launched in 1999.

Micell raised more than $50 million over several years and then moved into semiconductors.

The switch to medical device coatings occurred in 2004 after a stent manufacturer approached Micell with the idea of using its process to not coat but to clean stents.