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Endius: Waiting for the Revolution in Spine

Executive Summary

Though tiny in a field dominated by huge companies, Endius believes it can hold sway in the niche of minimally invasive spine surgery, where it claims two key advantages: a single platform that enables spine surgeons to do 80% of the things they already do without changing open surgical techniques, and clinical advantages over open. Now Endius needs partnerships to gain complementary products for its access systems as well as relationships with surgeons. These allliances may not necessarily follow the traditional model of allying with a giant company for its distribution muscle. Endius might rather forge alliances with other small companies.

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Orthopedic MIS Comes of Age

Minimally invasive surgeries, once predicted to replace open surgeries across the board, have never taken off to a great degree, because MIS required more intricate and demanding manipulations that were uncomfortable, if not outright impossible for surgeons. It is against this background of MIS's stalled success that the adoption of minimally invasive techniques in that most unlikely of surgical specialties, orthopedics, and in particular, hip and knee joint replacements, is most amazing. A half decade after the introduction of the first true MIS procedures in total hip replacement, orthopedic surgeons have continued to push penetration rates of MIS well beyond what anyone might have expected.

In a Red-Hot Orthopedics Market, Zimmer buys Implex

Zimmer's acquisition of Implex Corp. for slightly greater than $100 million is, in some respects, the natural culmination of a standing alliance between the two companies. But it's also interesting for the way in which it seems to embrace all of orthopedics' hot spots. Building on Implex's innovative Hedrocel biomaterial, Zimmer has already developed hip, knee, and shoulder implants, as well as trauma products, out of the collaboration, and has announced that seven development projects are underway. At the same time, this is also clearly a spine play: Implex had developed a line of spine products out of its material, which have already begun to be implanted in Europe and the US, and Zimmer said in announcing the deal that it intends to expand that spine business by incorporating it into Zimmer's own spine division.

The New Movement in Spine: Sparing the Rod and Growing the Market

The vitality and dynamism in spine surpasses any other medical device segment. Although it's still early in the field, there's a clear first mover advantage, given the long development cycle of spine devices. The time to place bets is now.

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