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Vertebral Compression Fracture Market Update: New Products Gain Traction

Executive Summary

Vertebral compression fracture repair remains one of the fastest growing segments of the spinal market. Although the VCF industry as a whole remains strong, competitive dynamics in this industry are beginning to shift, with a growing number of new products now available to address this expanding market.

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Spine Market: A Perfect Storm

While most Wall Street analysts predict that the current economic crisis will have little effect on the spine industry over the long haul, there are storm clouds on the horizon that should put spine product manufacturers on guard. With crackdowns by the Department of Justice tipping over into the spine arena and whistleblower lawsuits regarding surgeon/industry relationships in the news, along with several important bills before Congress designed to change how the business of spine surgery is done, current financial constraints may be only the tip of the iceberg in terms of things to come.

Zimmer Buys Abbott: Difficult Times Ahead in Spine

If spine is such a promising market, why did Abbott sell its spine business to Zimmer? The sale is a reflection of the transition period underway in the spine market, a transition born of a combination of the glut of small companies, the disappearance of large buyers, and also, some disappointments in some of spine's most promising technologies, And with that transition has come a perceptible loss of momentum in spine. For now that means depressed valuations on private financings for venture-backed spine companies and less-than-clear exits-an amazing turn around for an industry segment that just a couple of years ago looked strikingly different, certainly not the kind of spine industry Abbott thought it was buying into six years ago.

Artificial Discs: Where Do We Go from Here?

Artificial discs are experiencing a cooling trend owing to an expected reduction in CMS reimbursement for both cervical and lumbar disc replacement. Many motion preservation companies are reaching critical regulatory milestones that will likely require a step-up in funding to conduct the large scale clinical studies needed to gain PMA approval. Today, companies in this sector are faced with the troubling task of either scaling back R&D programs to conserve cash or raising additional capital to take the next steps. This article first appeared in the June 2008 issue of In Vivo.

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