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Orthopedic-Surgical Devices

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Some medical devices can make it to the market quickly, usually in a small niche under the radar screen of large companies, and have a considerable impact. For others, there's a world of difference between getting to the market and conquering it: the difficulties of gaining market acceptance may dictate a "hurry up and wait" strategy or a slow, conservative, stepwise approach to marketing to a change-resistant medical community. The accompanying group of profiles of orthopedics/surgical device companies, whose products range from a platform for minimally invasive spine surgery with neurophysiological monitoring (NuVasive) to pyrocarbon-based small-joint replacements (Ascension Orthopedics) and superelastic memory shape alloys for anatomic braces (Springflex Orthopedics) to a soft tissue fixation system (Coapt Systems), reflects a range of commercialization strategies.

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Coapt Systems Inc.

Coapt Systems Inc.'s Multi-Point Tension Distribution System (MTDS), an advancement over suturing, broadly disperses the tensile force generated when tissues are brought together for healing (coaptation). MTDS bioabsorbable devices will maximize the surgeon's speed and effectiveness and improving outcomes when binding soft (nontendinous) tissue to bone; tendon to tendon, bone, or muscle; in abdominal or tight skin closures; in peripheral nerve repair; or in facial suspension procedures.

Springflex Orthopedics Inc.

Springflex Orthopedics Inc. is using the superelastic memory shape metal alloy, nickel titanium (Nitinol), as a material for anatomic braces. Nitinol provides stabilization and support while allowing more natural movement than conventional braces made with elastic or semi-rigid polymer metal alloy supports, because it can withstand much greater strain levels and still spring back to its initial annealed configuration.

Ascension Orthopedics Inc.

Ascension Orthopedics Inc. is using pyrolytic carbon-based materials, the industry standard for heart valves, in a new way--as a material for silicone rubber spacers for small-joint-hand, upper extremity, and foot--repair. Unlike rubber spacers, which ease pain, pyrocarbon joint replacements can also support biomechanical loads and restore function.

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