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Medtronic Sofamor Danek: The Trials of the Front Runner

Executive Summary

Few companies have dominated a clinical space for as long and as thoroughly as Medtronic in spine surgery. Once a kind of clinical backwater of orthopedics, spine has become one of the fast-growing of all medical technology sectors, and MSD has played a leadership role-not just in developing new technology, but, perhaps even more importantly, in helping to establish spine surgery as a major therapeutic area and commercial market. As spine, and MSD along with it, has exploded, the company risks becoming a victim of its own success. With clinical philosophies and approaches shifting, technology advancing rapidly, and a host of competitors large and small all clamoring for piece of the pie, the challenge for MSD becomes clear: how to maintain its leadership in a market whose success it did so much to foster.

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