DFINE Seeks Meaning Outside Of Spine
Privately held DFINE Inc., a supplier of tools for treating vertebral compression fractures in the spine, is trying to reposition itself from being a spine company to an “interventionalist company” that provides tools necessary to interventional radiologists, neuroradiologists, and oncologists.
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This years’ gathering of the North American Spine Society (NASS) carried a muted tone that befits a stagnant or shrinking industry. Surgeons in NASS’ leadership spoke to the minimal growth in their own reimbursements and their concerns over how changes in the health care sector will impact the specialty going forward.
Although the spine market appears to be stabilizing to some extent, the vertebral compression fracture market continues to be challenged by reimbursement issues and lingering controversy stemming from the New England Journal of Medicine articles questioning the efficacy of vertebroplasty and vertebral augmentation as a treatment for VCFs.
Increasing concerns over the cost and efficacy of spinal procedures have chilled VC interest in spine companies, once the hot growth area in orthopedics. So, if spine is not the answer, where will VCs find investment opportunities in orthopedics, which remains one of the largest device sectors?